'We don't sell junk food', says McDonald's CEO to a 9-year-old girl. A whopper?
'We don't sell junk food,' McDonald's CEO Don Thompson told a nine-year-old girl. Saying 'We don't sell junk food' doesn't change the fact that many kids know healthy food from unhealthy food.
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The statement also reads: “It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time,” the younger Robertson told Thompson, reading from the statement. “I make cooking videos with my mom that show kids that eating healthy can be fun and yummy. We teach them that eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies makes kids healthier, smarter, and happier because that is the truth.”Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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According to The Raw Story, an alternative news site, instead of being gracious when a child was a guest at his corporate table, Thompson shot back, saying, “First of all, we don’t sell junk food, Hannah.”
Raise your hand if you know that using a child’s name in that kind of context is an intimidation tactic. It’s a way to single out someone and make them feel the burn. Parents do this by including a child’s middle name in a summons for retribution, i.e. “Avery Danger Suhay, why didn’t you call and tell me you’d be late?”
Business Insider reports that Thompson added, “My kids also eat McDonald’s [from] when they were about your size to my son, who is with us today, who was a little bit bigger – he was a football player. And also they cook with me at home. I love to cook. We cook lots of fruits and veggies at home.” He added that the company wants to sell more fruits and veggies and pointed out their salad selection and the inclusion of apple slices in Happy Meals.
The fact that Thompson’s son played football and ate junk food is not a point in favor of the junk food. Ask NFL player Kendall Wright, who shed 14 pounds by dropping his high school junk food diet, according to the Tennessee Titans website. Junk food is a popular term for any food low in essential nutrients and high in everything else, like refined carbohydrates (empty calories), saturate fats, and sodium. That is the majority of almost every fast food chain’s menu, and McDonald's is that rule and not the exception.
I can launch into the “Ketchup is not a vegetable” speech if need be. I would follow that golden oldie with the sermon on what’s “real,” which I may do anyway, given Business Insider's other Thompson quote: "We provide high quality food. We always have; it's real beef, it's real chicken, it's real tomatoes, real lettuce, real fruit, real smoothies, real dairy, real eggs, and we do it in a way that is also affordable."
This is Bill Cosby logic on a corporate scale with all the funny removed and served up by a spin doctor instead of a nutritionist.
Cosby famously joked that his children asked him for chocolate cake for breakfast and in his mind he “looked up” the ingredients for chocolate cake.
“Eggs! Eggs are in chocolate cake. And milk! Oh, goody! And wheat! That's nutrition!” He asks the child, "What do you want?" and the child replies, "Can I have some chocolate cake?" Cosby crows, "Chocolate cake coming up! SHEW! Sliced it for her and served it.”
All those “real” ingredients, however, do not add up to really healthy food for anyone.
I think that instead of dismissing the request by Hannah, McDonald's ought to hire her to design a Healthy Happy Meal that’s a tasty, affordable choice for kids.
Instead of selling kids on the idea that bad is good, corporations should invest in kids’ well-being in a more tangible way – or just own up to the fact that their food is as invisible on the food rainbow as the emperor’s new suit.
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