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McDonalds' labels should be extended

28 September 2006

McDonalds' labels should be extended to all fast food outlets

The Green Party welcomes McDonalds' plan to roll out nutrition labelling and Percentage of Daily Intake on its packaging, and is calling on all other fast food outlets to follow suit.

"Frankly it's bizarre that all takeaway outlets are exempt from nutrition labelling and unless they voluntarily follow McDonalds' initiative I believe this loop hole should be closed and mandatory labelling extended to all fast food," Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"However, McDonalds' nutrition labelling should include trans fatty acids as well as saturated fats. Artificially produced trans fats have a direct impact on raising blood cholesterol, and increase the risk of heart disease. It is essential that consumers can identify trans fats on nutrition labels and make informed decisions about whether or not to consume them."

Around the world, governments have taken decisive action to reduce the amount of trans fats in diets. Just yesterday New York City's Department of Health announced a proposal to ban all trans fats from New York restaurants in a bid to cut down incidence of heart disease and obesity.

"If McDonalds wants to give their consumers the tools to make real choices about their diet and health, then they must include quantities of trans fats on their labels.

"Trans fats have no known nutritional benefits and recent research concluded that near elimination of trans fatty acids in industrially produced food could avert 19 percent of coronary heart attacks a year. Two years ago McDonalds in New Zealand switched to oils low in both saturated fats and trans fats.

"If the levels of trans fats in McDonalds food are low as a result of changing cooking oils, then McDonalds would benefit from letting the public know. Either way, this is vital nutritional information about McDonalds' food and should be made available.

"Unlike the United States, New Zealand doesn't require labelling of trans fats, but McDonalds could show leadership and make this information available. It already does so on its foods sold in the US."


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