Entries in McDonald's (11)


McDonald's French Fry Bucket Makes Eating and Driving Easier

Photo Credit: McDonald's(NEW YORK) -- Eating on the go has never been easier.  Instead of having a friend in the passenger’s seat precariously pass individual fries while the driver inhales the entire container, a nifty little invention now lets drivers have their fair share.

Starting April 24, McDonald’s Japan is offering the limited-edition “potato basket” until the end of May. The red basket is designed to look like the company’s fry packaging and cleverly fits into any car cup holder or bicycle water bottle holder.

A Twitter campaign is launching in conjunction with the release of the potato basket, encouraging users to send in photos of how and where they use the new gadget.

A representative for McDonald’s says the company has no plans to launch the French fry bucket in the United States.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ronald McDonald: Healthy Food Adviser?

Courtesy Principal David Hahn, Union Terrace Elementary School(ALLENTOWN, Pa.) -- Ronald McDonald: wellness instructor? The hamburger pitchman recently showed up at the Union Terrace Elementary School in Allentown, Pa., to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise.

Yes, that's right. The Big Mac mascot is delivering a health pitch on the trail of evidence that suggests American kids are getting fatter by the day, and that schools are the natural frontline in the battle against obesity.

The school welcomed the red-haired clown because, in a time of program cutbacks and tight budgets, Ronald McDonald came with a $1,000 check, whose memo line reads: "nutrition program."

McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud explained that while the gift was a local initiative by McDonald's Restaurants of the Greater Philadelphia Region, it was related to a promotional nationwide effort by the restaurant chain to make meals healthier by decreasing fat, salt and sugar, while increasing fiber.

According to Proud, after Ronald McDonald lectured the students on healthy eating, he broke into a 40-minute "Go Active With Ronald McDonald" show intended to encourage kids to up their physical activity. "As Ronald says, 'It's what I eat and what I do ... and what I do is Go Active!" reads McDonald's literature on clown act, which is delivered free-of-charge to grade schools across the country.

The Allentown Morning Call quoted some parents and local nutrition experts as expressing approval of the gift and congratulating McDonald's on its generosity. Others, however, took exception, enough so that school district superintendent Russell Mayo later issued a statement that read in part:

"Allentown School District appreciates the gift of $1,000 from McDonald's Corporation ... to support student activities. By accepting this contribution, the district is not endorsing, condoning or condemning McDonald's Corporation. We are aware of the positive changes they are making to their menu for children, and we appreciate their community service practices."

Eric Ruth, co-founder and CEO of the Kellyn Foundation, which fights childhood obesity, in Bethlehem, Pa., told ABC News that he understood perfectly why the district took the money that came with the clown's message: "Schools are strapped. How do you pass up a thousand bucks? I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that you have to call it what it is: a marketing program."

Kids, he said, lacked the ability to distinguish between advertising and genuine instruction. The fact that the dispenser of advice came in the guise of a clown naturally entices them to go eat at McDonald's, Ruth said. He conceded that McDonald's food indeed had gotten healthier, but still had a ways to go.

Proud said similar events would likely take place at other franchises, but since McDonald's allowed its franchises considerable autonomy, it was difficult for the home office to know exactly how many or by whom.

She confirmed, though, that the same group that did the Allentown show had additional in-school events planned for 2012 in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. To the north, a different group of franchises has launched the McDonald's New York Metro Nutrition Network, whose goal, according to its website, is to help local nonprofit organizations provide nutrition guidance. Nonprofits, including schools, can apply for $5,000 grants, five of which will be awarded this year.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, a dietitian and author of The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, said she had partnered with the New York network to advise it on nutrition. In an earlier book, Zuckerbrot named McDonald's as one fast-food chain that offered healthy menu choices. She recently prepared tips for eating at McDonald's for the New York network, showing how the health-and-calorie conscious could eat three meals at day at the Golden Arches and still keep their calorie count to 1,180.

"I have always recommended to my patients that they can eat healthy while dining out," she told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Should McDonald's Be Sold in Hospitals?

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the 2004 documentary Supersize Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dined at McDonald's three times daily for 30 days, an experiment that caused an increase in his body mass and cholesterol, mood swings and fat accumulation in his liver -- an outcome that would make most doctors cringe. It may be surprising for some to learn that many hospitals have McDonald's restaurants in their dining areas. Now the consumer advocacy group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) is pushing hospitals to ban the fast food giant.  

The group recently sent a letter requesting the McDonald's ban to nearly two dozen hospitals -- all of which CAI says have McDonald's restaurants -- including the Cleveland Clinic and Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.  In the letter, CAI told the hospitals they were "fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health."

"We urge you to end your contract with McDonald's and to take action to remove the McDonald's restaurant from you hospital," the letter stated.

Additionally, the group cited information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, that "in decades to come, one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes as a result of diets high in McDonald's-style junk food."  

A 2006 study in the journal Pediatrics, also cited in the CAI letter to hospitals, found that allowing McDonald's to operate within hospitals unintentionally raises visitors' perceptions of the "healthfulness" of McDonald's food.

McDonald's, which currently has 27 hospital sites, is not the only fast food chain with hospital locations, Men's Fitness reports. But with McDonald's long-term contracts with some medical centers, it's hard to say if the letter will have any significant effect.  

CAI has said, however, that some hospitals, including Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Vanderbilt Medical Center have terminated contracts with McDonald's in the last few years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Announces End to ‘Pink Slime’ in Burgers

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- McDonald’s has announced that it will be discontinuing the use of the controversial meat product known as boneless lean beef trimmings in its burgers.

The product was recently brought to the attention of the public by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who derisively referred to it as “pink slime” on an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

These trimmings, which consist of what’s left of the meat after all the choice cuts of beef are taken, are banned for human consumption in the UK, where they are instead used for dog and chicken food. They are legal for consumption in the United States, where they are treated with ammonium hydroxide in order to kill off bacteria such as E. coli and make it safe for human consumption.

Beef Products Incorporated, the company that had previously supplied McDonald’s with boneless lean beef trimmings, denied that Oliver’s show had anything to do with decision, saying it was made long before the show aired and was based on BPI’s inability to supply McDonald’s on a global basis. BPI also pointed to its recent placement on food safety advocate Bill Marler’s nice list and numerous food safety awards as evidence of its commitment to food safety.

McDonald’s also issued a statement confirming that this decision was long in the works.

Burger King and Taco Bell have also discontinued the use of boneless lean beef trimmings in their food.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Seventh-Day Adventists Outraged Over McDonald's

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(LOMA LINDA, Calif.) -- The health conscious residents of Loma Linda, a small California city with a large Seventh-day Adventist population, have banned together to fight against the opening of the town's first McDonald's.

Nestled in a beautiful stretch of land east of Los Angeles, the 23,000 people who live in Loma Linda enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world -- on average, residents live well into their 80s. Its people are borderline obsessed with fitness and clean living, and they have a healthy population of centenarians to prove it.

So when McDonald's decided to move in, the people of Loma Linda went into red alert. When the issue to approve its opening came up before the city council, the meeting room was packed with outraged residents and health professionals, as if a nuclear waste dump, and not a fast food chain, was coming to town.

But the city isn't just full of fit families, it is also heavily Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that strongly encourages congregants to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as well as an alcohol, tobacco and caffeine-free lifestyle.

Pastor Randy Roberts of the Loma Linda University Church says healthy living is dictated straight from the scripture.

"In Corinthians, Paul speaking of the human body says specifically, 'you are the temple of the Holy spirit,'" explains Roberts. "Therefore, he says, whatever you do in your body, you do it to the honor, the glory and the praise of God."

He says the church has not taken an official position on the McDonald's controversy, but stands for living "a balanced, healthy, and whole lifestyle."

Dr. Wayne Dysinger, a physician of preventative medicine and a Loma Linda resident, is a leading member of the community coalition that opposes McDonald's. He says it is not just about the burgers and fries on McDonald's' menu, but also about what the fast food chain represents to Loma Linda's residents who cherish the community's health-conscious history.

"Loma Linda is sort of a symbolic city for healthiness, and McDonald's is sort of a symbolism of unhealthiness," said Dysinger, a Seventh-Day Adventist and father of two. "That's a significant issue. My kids know about McDonald's. McDonald's is the one that sells the toys."

In response to the community opposition, McDonald's said in a statement to ABC News:

"We have been working hard over the past several years to ensure we have options on our menu to meet a variety of dietary needs. For example, our line of Premium Salads can be ordered without meat. We also have other offerings including Apple Slices, Oatmeal and Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits as well as a variety of portion sizes ... McDonald's and our franchisee look forward to working with the Loma Linda City Council and residents to hopefully address any questions or concerns. We believe the new restaurant will support the Loma Linda community with a contemporary dining experience and help fuel economic growth."

McDonald's won't exactly be the first fast food chain in town. Though several health food stores are popular with residents, in recent years a handful of chains have arrived, including a KFC, Del Taco, Weinerschnitzel, Baker's Burger and most notably a Carl's Jr., which also came under intense fire when it first moved in.

Caught in the middle between the health food advocates and the burger eating population, as well as the land developers and those who welcome business growth, is Loma Linda Mayor Rhodes Rigsby.

A Seventh-Day Adventist and a physician himself, Rigsby says he has the desire to promote health, but doesn't feel limiting food choices is an appropriate mandate.

"I don't think it's the government's responsibility, personally, to legislate vegetarianism; I think if everyone became a vegetarian they would probably have a healthier life, but it has to be their choice," he said.

"I would hate to go to a town where vegetables are outlawed because the majority are meat and potato carnivores," he continued, "to me that doesn't make sense either way; I think people should have options."

Mayor Rigsby said that if the citizens of Loma Linda want to ban further fast food development, a ballot initiative enabling residents to vote on the issue might be an acceptable approach going forward.

The small city is a particularly unusual battleground, considering the first McDonald's opened in 1940, just five miles away in the town of San Bernardino. Now the country's most iconic fast food chain has over 33,000 locations worldwide in 199 countries around the globe.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Your Eggs Safe To Eat?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of an ABC News investigation into potentially unhealthy conditions at one of America's top egg producers, fast food giant McDonald's announced it would be finding eggs for its famous breakfast menu elsewhere.

Watch the full story Friday night on ABC's 20/20.

But how can you be sure the eggs you're picking up at the local supermarket are clean and safe to eat, no matter where they come from?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 142,000 illnesses every year are caused by people eating eggs that are contaminated with salmonella. And though the FDA has regulations in place meant to keep the eggs clean before they hit your pan, the administration says consumers are their own best safeguard.

Whether the chicken that produced the eggs was infected with salmonella or the eggs were subjected to unsanitary conditions, the most effective way to be safe is simply to cook them, according to former FDA food safety chief David Acheson, and cook them well.

"What do I mean by cook them? Salmonella will be killed if you cook your eggs so that everything is hard," Acheson told ABC News. "The white is hard and the yolk is hard."

To be totally safe that means, according to Acheson, no runny yolks or eggs sunny side up.

For any recipes that require eggs be undercooked, the FDA recommends using eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella through pasteurization.

For more on egg safety, including an instructional video, visit the FDA website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Georgia McDonald's Toxic Fumes a Deadly Mystery

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(SAVANNAH, Ga.) -- The mysterious fumes that killed one person and sickened nine others inside a McDonald's restroom this week may have brought the most unwanted publicity to the city of Pooler, Ga., since Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman set up Union headquarters there before negotiating the peaceful surrender of Savannah in December 1864.

Local fire officials remained stumped Friday about what toxic chemical or chemical mixture knocked two women unconscious Wednesday at the fast-food restaurant in their east Georgia city of about 19,000. One of the women, Anne Felton, 80, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., died after going into cardiac arrest. Firefighters administered oxygen to Carol Barry, 56, of Jacksonville, Fla., before she was admitted to a Savannah hospital, Pooler Fire Chief G. Wade Simmons said.

"Every one of the 10 people that had some sort of symptoms ... had been or were in that restroom," Simmons said.

No one anywhere else in the restaurant was affected.

He was hoping that results of an autopsy conducted at Georgia's state crime lab in Savannah "will lead us in some direction."

Among other confounding aspects of the case, he said, was how quickly the gas disappeared. "It was there, and then it was gone in the next hour to hour and a half we were doing things at the scene," he said.

By the time a Savannah hazardous materials analyzed air samples from the restroom, they found nothing detectable.

That left law enforcement officials and toxicologists to speculate about what the victims might have inhaled, and how it ended up in the women's room. "We've heard everything from terrorist attacks to carbon monoxide to sewer gas to God knows else," Simmons said.

Much of the speculation centered on the possibility that the women were sickened by a noxious combination of cleaning chemicals. Labels on toilet bowl cleaners, drain openers, window and glass sprays and scouring powders usually caution against using more than one product at a time.

Simmons said that based on employees' routines at the Pooler McDonald's, workers would have cleaned the women's room early in the day, before serving up Egg McMuffins to the morning breakfast crowd. But the initial report of someone choking didn't get called in until just before noon Wednesday, further deepening the mystery of why people suddenly became ill so much later. None of the products on the cleaning cart had spilled, he said, and the cart wasn't even near the bathroom when patrons began developing symptoms.

"Cleaning chemicals are common culprits in bathrooms," said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicology specialist at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. "Perhaps the people in the bathroom mixed together bleach and ammonia," which would produce chloramine gas, an irritant. "It doesn't usually cause people to die, but if it's in a high enough concentration and/or the person had underlying cardiopulmonary disease (such as asthma), it could certainly be potentially fatal."

Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, chief of pharmacology/toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, said he thought the most likely culprit was hydrogen sulfide, or "sewer gas," which blocks the body's ability to use oxygen. It's called a "rapid-knockdown" gas, he said.

"If the concentration is high enough, just a few breaths could be lethal," he said. "If the restroom has a floor drain connecting to the sewer, and the floor drain has a U-shaped pipe which generally stays full of water, thus keeping the sewer gas out of the restroom, but the water in the U dried up, then gas could freely enter the restroom. "

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Filth, Fecal Matter Found in Some Fast Food Restaurant Play Areas

Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- The play area at your local fast food restaurant may be harboring germs and bacteria that could make your children sick.

ABC News found out about this issue from a crusading mother who is trying to get standards in place for how -- and how often -- restaurant play areas should be cleaned.

At present, the government regulates restaurants and child care facilities, but not child play areas in restaurants.

Clumps of hair, rotting food and gang graffiti were just some of the things that mother Erin Carr-Jordan says she found when she followed her toddler into a fast-food restaurant play tube.

"It was like getting hit with a brick, it was so disgusting," she told ABC’s Good Morning America. "There was filth everywhere, there was black on the walls and it was sticky and there was grime inside the connecting tubes."

A professional with a specialty in child development and four children of her own, Carr-Jordan couldn't get the filthy scene out of her mind, so she crawled into more play tubes. And when she felt restaurant managers weren't responsive to her complaints, she started taking her video camera with her, and then posting her findings on the internet.

Carr-Jordan knew the play areas looked awful, but she wanted proof they could make children sick. So she spent several thousand dollars of her own money on testing. She collected samples at nine restaurants in seven states, from McDonald's, Burger King, Chuck E. Cheese's and others. She shipped off her swabs to a certified lab.

The lab found fecal matter in eight out of the nine play areas Carr-Jordan tested -- a staggering 90 percent. Children who come into contact with those bacteria could then get sick if they touched their mouth, nose or an open wound. One restaurant play tube had more than 20 million fecal bacteria in a two-inch area.

"Where there are people, there are germs," said New York University microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno.

ABC News asked Tierno, director of microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center, to put Carr-Jordan's lab result into context. He said the play areas could have been worse, but there's definitely room for improvement.

"The areas where children play in those restaurants, they should be periodically sanitized -- I don't know if some of these were sanitized in a more timely fashion to have 20 million count -- but they really should be," he said.

That is precisely Carr-Jordan's point. After all, restaurant bathrooms are required by law to be cleaned regularly, but there are no clear standards for restaurant play areas.

"I don't want them to take these places away, I most certainly do not. I just want them to clean them," she said.

ABC News asked the restaurant chains for their reaction:

Statement to ABC News from Burger King:
BURGER KING® restaurant playgrounds must be cleaned and maintained in accordance with the cleaning standards in the BURGER KING® Operations Manual. These standards include procedures for daily, weekly and monthly cleaning of playground equipment. In accordance with our policy, restaurant playgrounds are also required to be cleaned by a professional cleaning service on a quarterly basis. Burger King Corp. has contacted the franchise restaurant where the sample was taken and the franchisee has confirmed they conducted a deep cleaning of the playground this month. Additionally, the franchisee is reinforcing BURGER KING®'s standards on proper cleaning and maintenance procedures with all of its staff and management team at the restaurant. - Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Chief Brand and Operations Officer for Burger King Corp.

Statement to ABC News from McDonald's:
"We put our customers first, and are taking these concerns very seriously. We've spoken with Dr. Carr-Jordan and assigned a team to review the report findings and our own existing procedures. While we have stringent sanitizing procedures for weekly, daily and even spot cleaning, we're always looking for ways to improve our standards and how they are followed at each restaurant." - Cathy Choffin, Manager of Safety and Security McDonald's USA

Statement to ABC News from Chuck E. Cheese's:
Our goal at Chuck E. Cheese's is to provide families with a wholesome, safe, entertaining experience. Cleanliness is a critical element toward meeting this goal. We have detailed step by step cleaning instruction manuals with video training in each of our entertainment centers. All existing play equipment is cleaned at least daily with Oasis 146 Multi-Quat sanitizer. Touch ups are completed throughout the day as needed. Additionally, we have Purell stations installed for our guests and employees to use. - Lois Perry VP, Advertising Chuck E. Cheese's  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


McDonald's Will Unveil Menu Changes, New Nutrition Commitments 

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(OAK BROOK, Ill.) -- In an effort to follow through with a healthier approach to fast food, McDonald’s will unveil menu changes and new nutrition commitments via a live webcast with company president Jan Fields and senior director of nutrition Dr. Cindy Goody on Wednesday.

One of the biggest changes will be putting McDonald's venerable Happy Meal on a diet.

According to ABC's Good Morning America, the company will reduce the number of fries that come in a Happy Meal, and also bundle apple slices with the meal. The smaller portions will trim 100 calories from the whole meal, which reportedly has a calorie count of 590 -- a 20 percent reduction in calories, according to Fields.  What won't be cut, as some critics have demanded? That kid favorite, Happy Meal toys. "The toys are an important part of the experience," Fields told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on GMA Tuesday, laughing. "Kids have to have fun, you know!"

McDonald’s is one of several fast food chains to transition towards healthier, more nutritious menu options.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Marathon Runner Eats McDonald’s Three Times a Day

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock showed the perils of eating nothing but McDonald's food in his 2004 documentary Super Size Me, but Joe D'Amico apparently never saw the movie -- because he's been eating Mickey D's three times a day as part of his training for running a marathon. 

The Chicago Sun-Times reports D'Amico is set to run in the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20 after spending 30 days eating nothing but McMuffins, McNuggets, and other McDonald's menu items. 

D'Amico tells the newspaper, "My wife told me I was crazy, but I love McDonald's and I love running, and this was a great way to combine the two." 

D'Amico eats breakfast, lunch and dinner at McDonald's, but hasn't gained any weight because he runs 100 miles a week. 

Filmmaker Spurlock famously gained 24 pounds and watched his health decline when he ate nothing but McDonald's for just 30 days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio