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Government’s response “pragmatic and commonsense”

28 November 2007

Media Statement
For immediate release

Government’s response “pragmatic and commonsense” says McDonald’s

McDonald’s Restaurants welcomes the government’s pragmatic and commonsense response to the Health Select Committee inquiry into obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

“We are pleased to see the weighting the government’s response gives to education, information and the role of physical exercise in the obesity equation; its insistence that any initiatives should be based on sound, empirical evidence, and its acknowledgment that cross-sector, voluntary actions work better than legislative or regulatory interventions,” says Mark Hawthorne, McDonald's Country Manager.

Mr Hawthorne says he is also pleased to read the report’s acknowledgement of the progress already made in co-operation with industry, like the food sector’s support of the schools-based HEHA programme and the Television Broadcasters’ Council’s five point plan to improve food advertising to children which was agreed with the government earlier this year.

“McDonald's voluntarily introduced nutrition labelling on our food and we continue to support future food labelling systems that, if introduced, are based on sound, scientific evidence as the government has also recommended.”

Mr Hawthorne says McDonald’s would continue to lead the food industry’s response to obesity.

“We are a good example of how self-regulation is working. We have already demonstrated our commitment to the New Zealand public by introducing a range of menu options, including fruit, salads, yoghurt and water choices, the use of lower fat cooking oils, and other product changes.

"We are a signatory to the Food Industry Accord and are an active member of the Food Industry Group.

“In addition we have halved our advertising spend on our Happy Meals and over the past five years, our advertising spend on promoting healthy options and active lifestyles has increased five-fold. This includes encouraging kids to try our Happy Meal choice options like apple slices, water, juices and pasta.

“We also now only advertise food during children’s viewing hours that meets the Food and Beverage Classification System for Schools criteria for everyday food, and for the last six months we have only advertised food during children's programming hours that fits within a third of a child's Recommended Daily Intake*,"says Mr Hawthorne.

Mr Hawthorne said McDonald’s is looking forward to working with the new regional District Health Board food industry coordinators signalled in the government’s response.

“They are welcome at all of our restaurants. Not only will they see food being prepared with high quality ingredients, to the most exacting hygiene standards, they will also be able to select from a wide range of menu choices.

“What could be a better introduction to a new job?” said Mr Hawthorne.

ENDS

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