So, I saw the trailer for the new Katie Couric produced documentary, “Fed Up”, yesterday and was struck by one particular statement—appearing at about the 1:54 mark of the following video—made by then Senior Director of McDonald’s Eat Smart, Be Active Program, Shelley Rosen. She says, “Ronald McDonald never sells to children. He informs and inspires through magic and fun”.
Take a look at the trailer, if you haven’t already seen it, and then look for more commentary.
Firstly, I’m a devourer of these kinds of docs. “Food Inc.” remains a favorite, but I’ve seen other great ones as well; like “Food Matters”, “Forks Over Knives”, and “Vegucated” all offer something of value for the health minded; it’s my assumption that “Fed Up” will tackle many of the same issues of its counterparts, while sparking new discussion as well.
That said, let’s return to one of the biggest offenders in the obesity epidemic—McDonald’s. Here’s a company that’s been on a steady campaign of redemption since being demonized in the popular food doc, “SuperSize Me”, and one that sits at the head of the table when people start pointing fingers at the fast food industry.
Now, I understand Rosen (who is no longer with McDonald’s) had a job to do, but surely the public isn’t this stupid; of course McDonald’s markets to children. Why else is a toy offered with every Happy Meal? If they were just trying to bring in adults, they wouldn’t bother having a clown shilling its product. The draw is in the toys, the fun, and the atmosphere of McDonald’s; Ronald McDonald is the primary reason the Golden Arches are one of the most recognizable symbols in the world.
However, it’s lobbyist’s like Rosen who are part of the problem. The lies they’re willing to spew in the name of capitalism disgust me, but not nearly as much as the misinformed consumer who continues to perpetuate the cycle by giving in to the temptation to fund such corporations.
It’s always up to you, as the consumer, to educate yourself and your children about good nutrition. If you don’t, they are doomed to a life of pills on the counter and masks on their face. That’s the ugly, dirty, nasty truth of it all.
Know better so you can do better.