CSPI on McDonald’s Nutrition Labeling

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

February 10, 2003

We applaud McDonald’s decision to make nutrition information more readily available at its restaurants in the United Kingdom. Putting fat and calorie counts right on the wrapper for each item would be a net plus for British consumers, even if it would be seen only after the products were purchased.

But we encourage McDonald’s USA not to fall behind its British counterpart. Right now, McDonald’s nutrition information is hard to find and hard to read. If McDonald’s truly wanted consumers to have more information about their food choices, the company would put calorie counts right on the menu board, between the item and the price. That way consumers would know when they’re deciding what to buy that a Big Mac has 590 calories while a small burger has only 280, or that a large shake has 1,010 calories while a small shake has only 360. And people could make their decision without losing their place in line to squint at a poster.

I think that if I were McDonald’s lawyer, I’d insist on calorie labeling on menu boards, if for no other reason than to fend off lawsuits from people who might otherwise feel deceived by McDonald’s glitzy feel-good advertising.


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