Heart group's approval of fast food meals angers critics

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:499
  1. Melissa Sweet
  1. Sydney

    Australians eating at any of the 750 McDonald's outlets across the country can now choose from a range of nine meal combinations that have been given a tick of approval by the National Heart Foundation.

    McDonald's and the foundation say that the new meals will give consumers healthier choices, but some public health experts and nutritionists fear that the deal may encourage consumption of fast food and add to public confusion about mixed nutritional messages.

    The meals, available since 28 February, have been reformulated to have less salt, saturated fat, trans fats, and energy, as well as more vegetables, than standard McDonald's fare.

    One such meal comprises the McChicken burger, salad and Italian dressing, and water. It has 48% fewer kilojoules, 49% less saturated fat, 9% less salt, and an extra 1.5 servings of vegetables than a meal of McChicken burger, fries, and coke. McDonald's says that it is cheaper to buy the meal combinations approved by the foundation than to buy the individual items separately.

    Susan Anderson, national manager of the foundation's “tick food” information programme, said that as well as improving the choices for …

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