The Film "Super Size Me"

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Hiram Callahan
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/04 17:10:30 (permalink)
I'd be fine with every restaurant having to post nutritional information. I would point out, however, that it's common in law for business regulation to exempt smaller entities. Title VII only applies if the employer has more than a minimum number of employees, for example. Alternatively, since McD's et al aren't obligated by law to post the information, I'd have no problem with their not posting it or alluding to it at all. Furthermore, my local Roadfood place probably doesn't have the information; McD's unquestionably does and, given portion control and centralized provisioning, can control whether an individual serving conforms to the evaluated model.

But enough of regulation. The question is truly one of private, licit behvior. The problem occurs when McD's or somebody like the GMA guy trumpet their transparency, their efforts to "educate" and "get good information to parents," and then make the information difficult or--for many poor people who lack consistent online access and provide McD's with a lot of business--impossible to find. The combination of asserting that fast food is compatible with healthy eating, contending that potential plaintiffs should nevertheless know which things on the menu aren't compatible with a good diet, and obscuring the fact of how a particular menu option affects healthful eating may be permissible, but does the resturateur little credit.
#31
ahmicchick
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/05 11:36:26 (permalink)
Hiram, thank you for your comments. I'd like to respond to what you've written:

"I'd be fine with every restaurant having to post nutritional information. I would point out, however, that it's common in law for business regulation to exempt smaller entities."

Right - I was being flippant about imposing such a requirement on all restaurants.

"Alternatively, since McD's et al aren't obligated by law to post the information, I'd have no problem with their not posting it or alluding to it at all."

Agreed.

"Furthermore, my local Roadfood place probably doesn't have the information; McD's unquestionably does and, given portion control and centralized provisioning, can control whether an individual serving conforms to the evaluated model. "

Agreed.

"But enough of regulation. The question is truly one of private, licit behvior."

Yes!

"The problem occurs when McD's or somebody like the GMA guy trumpet their transparency, their efforts to "educate" and "get good information to parents," and then make the information difficult or--for many poor people who lack consistent online access and provide McD's with a lot of business--impossible to find."

OK, yes, saying that you're trying to help educate the public about your product and then making the facts impossible to find is not ethical.

Here, I have two responses. One is, if I a business follows unethical practices, I am free to stop buying from them. Their immoral behavior can cost them.

My second response is, has McDonald's (for example), really done this? After all, without being required to do so, they've calculated the nutritional content of most menu items, and made that information available on the Internet. It's been a long time since I've seen them advertise that they offer this information in the restaurants themselves. Please set me straight on the facts, here, but honestly, I think it's been a few years since they made this claim in their TV commercials. If I recall correctly, they had "fact sheets" available upon demand that you could take home with you. I'd like to know how many consumers came in and demanded the information? Is it possible that McDonald's felt that the cost required to print the information and post it was not worth it, for lack of consumer interest, so they discontinued distributing these facts in the restaurants? McDonald's does still offer the information in a cost-efficient manner, and everyone has access to libraries and the Internet. Yes, it's easier to access for some people than others, but anyone can get the information if they want it.

By the way, who's the GMA guy? Did I miss that because I haven't seen the Super-Size Me movie?

"The combination of asserting that fast food is compatible with healthy eating, contending that potential plaintiffs should nevertheless know which things on the menu aren't compatible with a good diet, and obscuring the fact of how a particular menu option affects healthful eating may be permissible, but does the resturateur little credit."

Who has asserted that fast food is compatible with healthy eating? And what is the definition of fast food in this context? I'll take it to mean the entire menu offered by McDonald's. Did McD's say that their burgers, fries, and shakes are healthy? No. In fact they've actually calculated the nutritional values of these items and made them available to the public. They've also created new menu items that are much better choices (look at their new salads with grilled chicken), calculated their nutritional values, and posted those values as well. So, it is true that you can eat there and eat a healthy meal, and McDonald's has not obscured the fact of how a particular menu option affects healthful eating. Furthermore, even if McDonald's doesn't distribute this information in a way that you would like, there are other entities out there that are passing along McD's information - for example, countless calorie-counter/fat-counter/carb-counter books. How else is this information to be made available to the public? What cost should McDonald's be expected to bear?

I think that McDonald's deserves a lot of credit for responding to consumer demand for healthier choices. This response does not always pay off (remember the McLean burger?), and they are in the business of making money, so there is no reason to continue offering healthful choices if consumer demand isn't there. Even with healthful offerings that have failed, McDonald's has still undertaken the risk of trying to offer choices that are healthy and profitable. When this strategy doesn't work, the restaurant bears the cost. When this strategy does work out, it's win-win for everyone. McD's has been at the forefront of the fast-food industry's attempts to create healthy eating choices, offering salads, frozen yogurt with fruit, and now I see that they are introducing apples and dip as an alternative to french fries, and milk as an alternative to soft drinks in their Happy Meals. I just hope that the average consumer is smart enough to figure out the facts so that McDonald's will continue to have an incentive to offer the healthier foods that I prefer to eat when I stop for fast food.
#32
daveritzdog
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/05 18:22:26 (permalink)
Hey fellow Roadfooders, thanks for your feedback on "Super Size Me", and for keeping this forum alive! I have to admit I was worried about giving my views 'cause I felt most people reading this in "Middle America" are still pretty conservative. It's nice to have different opinions, and this is what makes America great! This film is still playing here in New York City. Has it reached your town yet? Have you seen it and if so, do you have a different opinion of fast food now? Will you still take the kids to the "Golden Arches" now that you know that your children are targets of mass media marketing strategies for life? Keep this talk open and voice your opinions on this forum!
#33
Ellieanddad
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 04:19:46 (permalink)
The Center for Consumer Freedom: Nothing more than a right-wing think-tank(There's an oxymoron for ya'!) funded by the restaurant industry designed to try and debunk any science whatsoever which in any way publishes sound science about the hazards of unhealthy food
quote:
Originally posted by oneiron339

consumer freedom.com
#34
hotdogger
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 04:58:54 (permalink)
I eat at McDonalds about a dozen times a week and I am in great physical condition. 5'11'' 170 pounds. McDonalds bashing is very trendy and hip these days among tubby liberals and it's getting old. If you don't like McDonalds food here is an idea for you, don't eat it.
#35
Oneiron339
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 07:38:33 (permalink)
FYI:

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

Unlike the anti-consumer activists we monitor and keep in check, we stand up for common sense and personal choice. The growing fraternity of "food cops," health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know "what's best for you" are pushing against our basic freedoms. We're here to push back.


So what is "consumer freedom," anyway?
Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to make their own choices about what to eat and drink, and how to enjoy themselves. Defending enjoyment is what we're all about!

Do we have a bias? Yes! We believe that you know "what's best for you." When activists try to force others to live according to their vision of society, we don't take it lying down.

Does that mean you're against vegetarians?
Of course not. But we do stand against activists who would steer Americans into vegetarianism by using intimidation and junk science. Everyone should have the right to make his or her own choices about what to eat and drink -- whether it's a garden salad and bottled water, or a porterhouse steak and a cocktail. We promote respect for diversity of choice. All we ask in return is the same.

But you are opposed to "good" groups. Doesn't that make you the "bad guys"?
The Center for Consumer Freedom is not opposed to any group. We're opposed to actions that restrict your right to make your own choices, and to extremism that endangers businesses and ordinary Americans in the name of radical ideology.

What makes us different from many organizations is that we aren't afraid to take on groups that have built "good" images through slick public-relations and media campaigns. Just because an organization's name makes it sound "ethical" or "responsible" or "in the public interest" doesn't mean it is.

And when extremists talk about throwing bricks through windows, taxing your favorite foods, or throwing the book at popular restaurants with tobacco-style lawsuits, we make sure you know about it.

Who funds you guys? How about some "full disclosure"?
The Center for Consumer Freedom is supported by restaurants, food companies and more than 1,000 concerned individuals. From farm to fork, our friends and supporters include businesses, employees, and consumers.

The Center is a 501(c)(3) corporation. We file regular statements with the Internal Revenue Service, which are open to public inspection. Our first such filing was completed late in 2003.

Many of the companies and individuals who support the Center financially have indicated their desire for anonymity. They are reasonably apprehensive about privacy and safety, in light of the violence some activist groups have adopted as a "game plan" to impose their views.
#36
renfrew
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 08:16:51 (permalink)
Just because Mcdonald's has their information avaialble on the internet does not mean anything to those who would benefit most form this information.

It is easy for us to think posting this info on the internet is making it available to all since we are fortunate to have internet access. There are tons of people in the US that still do not have access.
#37
ahmicchick
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 08:39:22 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by renfrew

Just because Mcdonald's has their information avaialble on the internet does not mean anything to those who would benefit most form this information.

It is easy for us to think posting this info on the internet is making it available to all since we are fortunate to have internet access. There are tons of people in the US that still do not have access.


Go to your local library.
#38
renfrew
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 09:20:50 (permalink)
Sorry, that response does not cut it for the inner city youth who have no access in their schools and have to work after shcool to support the family. Nor their parents who dont have the access at their jobs (yes plural)

that is merely one example of where the internet is not an option. Even if they could go to the library, not all have internet access.
#39
ahmicchick
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/09 14:53:42 (permalink)
I just went to McDonald's. Here's what I found.

1. I did not see nutritional information posted, but then I didn't look very hard nor did I ask management. However, there was a display rack with different pamphlets available. I picked up the one entitled "Taste, Choice, and Balanced Eating". On the back it says "For more information on McDonald's and nutrition, call: 1-800-244-6227 or visit our Web site www.mcdonalds.com" So you don't need Internet access to get the information. (But even if McD's didn't offer a toll-free number, I don't buy it that there are many people who cannot just ask someone for help or for information, if they don't have the ability to look online themselves.)

So again I say, the idea that McDonald's is following some marketing strategy whereby it's trying to fool consumers into thinking that they're honestly trying to do well by their customers when really McD's is just trying to hide the horrible, horrible truth is... unfounded.

2. I called the 1-800 number. I spoke to a very courteous man who gave me MORE information than I asked for. Granted, I didn't grill the guy, I just asked how many calories and how much fat is there in a combo meal with a Big Mac, medium fries, and medium Coke. He told me. I asked, is there anything healthier? He made many suggestions (Chicken McGrill sandwich, small fries instead, or apple dippers instead of fries, salads...) and gave me the calorie and fat count for each. He also gave me this information about all of the salad dressings. Then he suggested fruit and yogurt, and started making up a meal and checking out the count for a small hamburger, fruit and yogurt, and regular Coke. Most of this was on his own initiative, without my asking too many questions. Finally, he asked if I had Internet access. When I responded yes, he told me about a new feature on the Web site, "Bag a McMeal", where you can plan your meal and see the nutritional info before you go. Call and decide for yourself if you think McDonald's is trying to hide the nutritional value of its meals. By the way, he said that many McDonald's have a poster with nutritional values but that it is not always in a conspicuous place. Aside from that, he said, most McDonald's have pamphlets with nutritional information for the asking.

3. The new apple dippers are available here, as well as milk as a ready substitute for sodas on kids' meals. The guy at the 1-800 number let me know that most McD's will make substitutions in adult meals as well, but you have to ask the cashier FIRST to make sure that they can do it. Since this is a new product, it will probably take some time for McD's to gauge its success and whether they should make the product available in all markets and on all meals.
#40
renfrew
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/10 15:02:22 (permalink)
Whats really interesting about the nutrtion info online is that they do not list the amount of sugar in stuff. Refined sugars are pretty bad for you too, it is not just fat.
Top three ingredients in Caramel dip? Corn Syrup, Sweetened milk, high fructose corn syrup. They also have some plain sugar thrown in as the fifth ingredent for good measure.

"Here son, dip your sugary fruit into some more sugar." "Thanks Dad!"

i think it is great they are offering fruit. But the caramel dip should not be classified as a healthy alternative.
#41
Cakes
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/10 15:05:34 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by renfrew

Whats really interesting about the nutrtion info online is that they do not list the amount of sugar in stuff. Refined sugars are pretty bad for you too, it is not just fat.
Top three ingredients in Caramel dip? Corn Syrup, Sweetened milk, high fructose corn syrup. They also have some plain sugar thrown in as the fifth ingredent for good measure.

"Here son, dip your sugary fruit into some more sugar." "Thanks Dad!"

i think it is great they are offering fruit. But the caramel dip should not be classified as a healthy alternative.



What would any intelligent person think was in caramel dip? It is nothing but sugar!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#42
renfrew
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/10 15:28:24 (permalink)
I expect there to be spinach, broccoli and rutabagas.

The main point is that their nutrition info leaves out the sugar content. Obviously the caramel dip is unhealthy. Their dressings also have a ton of sugar in em. Thats fine fi you want it, but they should not leave it out of the nutrition info.
#43
ahmicchick
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/10 15:54:43 (permalink)
Yeah, I know, the caramel dip (sigh!). It's 70 calories, 9g of sugars, but anyway I would like to encourage my kids to eat the stuff without the dip. Luckily they seem to do OK without my instruction. There's usually some left over after the apples are gone, and they don't think to lick the container clean like I might! Apples and dip still beats fries, and I would classify them as "more healthy". But maybe not "healthy". By the way, I don't know about the other information sources, but the McD's web page does list sugar counts.
#44
shanklemsw
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/12 08:08:06 (permalink)
Hey

If cheese is "morphine on a cracker" maybe THAT explains why I'm so addicted!
#45
Jennifer_4
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/12 15:09:12 (permalink)
How much "education" does a grown person need to figure out that hamburgers and fries aren't great nutritional choices? Time to take responsibility for our own choices people, stop playing dumb and acting like there's a big conspiracy out there to kill us without our knowlege or consent! I'm frankly sick to death of supposed grownups acting like they didn't know what they were doing when they did something unhealthy.
#46
daveritzdog
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RE: The Film "Super Size Me" 2004/06/12 17:58:29 (permalink)
This is true Jennifer. However, "Super Size Me" focuses on the way young children are targeted by food companies, and are unable to make healthy eating choices inside and outside of school. The truth is very shocking. There is no conspiracy, just lots of advertising thrown at kids. See the film.
#47
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