Tuesday, February 06, 2007

McHealthy meals win National Heart tick

FAST food giant McDonald's has secured the National Heart Foundation's tick of approval for several low-fat meals to be added to its menu this month.

But leading dietitian Rosemary Stanton says this may just encourage more people to buy McDonald's - and not necessarily the healthy meals.

The foundation gave nine new meals - switching the winning chips-and-soft drink combination for salad and juice - a tick.

Big Macs missed out, but McNuggets and Filet-o-Fish burgers can wear the tick when paired with the healthy side-dishes.

Foundation chief executive Lyn Roberts said the firm had spent a year reducing trans fats and sodium and adding vegetables to meal combinations.

McDonald's follows Qantas in tick-approval since the foundation introduced the scheme for meals eaten out. Ticks previously only went to supermarket foods meeting strict nutritional standards: companies paying for the privilege.

Tick scheme national manager Susan Anderson would not say how much McDonald's would pay but said it would only cover foundation expenses.

McDonald's was charged $330,000 for 12 Months of approval. In a forum I contribute to, another user (that claims to work at the National Heart Foundation) has this to say on the subject: (The post has been edited only to correct spelling mistakes)

Let me clarify this for everyone because I actually work at the Heart Foundation.

The license fee charged to manufacturers is based on a proportion of expected revenue. This money is used to cover costs only - the money stays inside the tick program and is not released to any other part of the Heart Foundation. In the case of McDonalds 2 restaraunts will be tested per week for 12 months to check their food is meeting the strict standards set by the Tick program, this includes clinical analysis, human resources etc. This is where the $330,000 is going. The Tick is granted only to the nine meals that will be released later in the month, and it does not apply to the whole of McDonalds. The meals are no longer tick certified if you change them in any way. Obviously if you buy fries with a Tick meal you are not eating according to Tick guidelines.

The Heart Foundation "Tick" of approval is nothing short of a pathetic joke. McDonald's can get the tick for a "heart healthy" meal, yet there is no tick of approval for fruit and vegetable growers or livestock producers.

The truth is, the Heart Foundation's "Tick of approval" is purely a revenue raiser for a pathetic government - it has nothing to do with the food being heart healthy.


Lowcarb_dave said...

This is the most appalling thing to have happen in Health, in a very long time.

The Heart Foundation is a complete sham!

McDonalds are very crooked characters.

Unfortunately they have won over the low-fat crowd, so the McDonalds 'Apologists' outnumber even their customers now.

It's the greatest Bullshit job in the history of marketing!

Steve said...

I agree Dave, absolutely disgraceful! What can we do though? You can't beat the mass media and the great unwashed public.

Cindy said...

The AHA is a joke!!! Have you checked their website for their "No Fad Diet"? In the sample menus they recommend "tub margarine" and they have several items that either contain or MAY contain trans-fats!!!

I'll continue to avoid MacD's et all. Their food makes me sick, so I guess for me anyway, MacD's is NOT a healthful place to eat!!!

PS. Glad to see you back!!!

Steve said...

Hi Cindy. Yeah, the AHA is certainly a joke. I think this article is just more proof of that.

Macca's makes me feel pretty ordinary too. I have steered clear since the start of 2001 and have never looked back.