Shameless McDonald’s Ads To Link Big Mac & Fries With Local Food Movement

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Morgan Clendaniel discusses a new series of upcoming Orwellian McDonald’s ads that will be launched in 2012. The ads [see ad] feature testimonials from the alleged owners of massive industrial farms about the origin of the ingredients for McDonald’s fast-food.

McDonald’s will attempt to capitalize on and exploit the growing popularity of the local food movement by associating the ingredients it uses to produce Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and French fries, with small local farmers.

In one ad you meet Frank Martinez, potato farmer, who sits in front of a mountainous pile of potatoes; he reaches for a single potato, cuts it open and tastes it. “They’re good now, just wait till they’re McDonald’s fries.”

The other two McDonald’s propaganda ads will feature a lettuce farmer and a beef rancher at Black Gold Ranch.

McDonald’s U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Neil Golden told Ad Age: “We thought putting a face on the quality of the food story would be a unique way to approach this. We acknowledge that there are questions about where our food comes from. I believe we’ve got an opportunity to accentuate that part of our story.”

The fact is, McDonald’s does business with 250 suppliers, including Cargill, Lopez Foods, Golden State Foods, Simplot, Lamb Weston and Coca-Cola, and as Morgan points out, “McDonald’s isn’t interested in small farmers because those farmers aren’t even on McDonald’s radar. In fact, McDonald’s doesn’t even buy direct from farmers, but from suppliers who contract with farmers. Frank Martinez doesn’t even work for them.”

As Morgan notes, the new ads are akin to the previous exploitation of Juan Valdez, “the fictionalized Colombian coffee farmer who reassured millions of Americans that their morning brew came straight from his fields to their cup.”

Since 1959, Juan Valdez appeared alongside his mule Conchita carrying sacks of harvested coffee beans in both print advertisements and on television. He has become an icon for Colombia coffee.

Morgan suggests McDonald’s recognizes Chipotle’s success in promoting its connection to small farmers and the quality of its organic ingredients, and now wants to craft an image with consumers of men like Frank Martinez who are lovingly raising the potatoes that go into McDonald’s fries.

Maureen Morrison with Ad Age notes that recently “several food companies, including Domino’s and consumer packaged-goods brands, have put farms in their advertising. McDonald’s has emphasized product quality — rather than the actual suppliers — in its breakfast ads and the ‘What we’re made of’ campaign.”

Morrison points out that Technomic recently cited a movement toward local sourcing and customers wanting more information in its list of leading U.S. restaurant trends.

“Consumers want transparency — disclosures of everything from calories and allergens on menus to labor and local-sourcing practices,” Technomic said in a press release. “A small but growing number are serious about nutrition, labeling, sustainability and community involvement, and they are using such knowledge to make purchasing decisions.”

McDonald’s Egg Supplier Investigated

McDonald’s recently dumped one of its suppliers, Sparboe Farms, but only because Sparboe Farms was the subject of an ABC News investigation that was broadcast on “20/20″; Sparboe Farms was also condemned for animal abuse by the animal-rights group Mercy for Animals.

The FDA issued a warning letter to Sparboe Farms citing at least 13 significant violations of the federal egg rule designed to prevent salmonella outbreaks. The violations included a host of safety issues, from cross- contamination risk to rodent control, and failure to maintain safety records.

Sparboe Farms issued an egg recall in September of last year of eggs produced by Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms and re-packaged by Sparboe Farms. In 2010, Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms were involved in one of the largest egg recalls in U.S. history, in which over a half-billion eggs were recalled and 1,900 people were sickened because of salmonella contamination.

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets Contain TBHQ

McDonald’s chicken McNuggets contain tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product, and dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty.

TBHQ is used to help the chicken and other ingredients in McDonald’s McNuggets maintain their shape after being placed into nugget-shaped molds. TBHQ is also added to varnishes, lacquers, resins, and oil field additives, and used industrially and in cosmetics to lower the evaporation rate and improve stability.

Dimethylpolysiloxane is a form of silicone used to prevent oil from foaming; it’s also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty. In 2003, a federal judge dubbed chicken McNuggets “a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook.”

70 Ingredients In McDonald’s McRib Sandwich

There are roughly 70 ingredients in the McRib sandwich, 34 of which are in the roll alone, including the chemicals ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium peroxide, and calcium propionate.

Azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes, is found in the McRib roll.

The compound is banned in Europe and Australia as a food additive. England’s Health and Safety Executive classified it as a “respiratory sensitizer” that potentially contributes to asthma through occupational exposure. The U.S. limits azodicarbonamide to 45 parts per million in commercial flour products.

Besides the plethora of chemicals, the McRib has 500 calories with 980 mg of sodium, more than half the recommended daily intake, and 10 grams of saturated fat.

High-quality Food From Small Farmers? Not Hardly

So much for the Juan Valdez, touchy-feely image of local farmers who are lovingly attending to the staple ingredients that go into McDonald’s fast-food menu offerings. As Morgan Clendaniel observes: “McDonald’s is trumpeting a commitment to good food to sell bad food, instead of actually making their food better.”

McDonald’s has the largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in the world, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. No matter what spin McDonald’s and their high paid Madison Avenue pimps dream up, McDonald’s food is a fast-food-like substance, and nothing but junk.

Several years ago, McDonald’s food was the inspiration for Morgan Spurlock’s documentary film Super Size Me, in which Spurlock explores the consequences on his health from a diet of solely McDonald’s food for one month.

Just for fun, check out the ingredients in a McDonald’s Bun alone:
Enriched bleached flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, reduced iron), water, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, yeast, contains less than 2 % of each of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, wheat gluten, soy flour, baking soda, emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of fatty acids, ethanol, sorbitol, polysorbate 20, potassium propionate), sodium stearoyl lactylate, dough conditioner (corn starch, ammonium chloride, ammonium sulfate, calcium peroxide, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes), calcium propionate (preservative).

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Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper


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