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Nine-year-old girl grills McDonald's CEO over 'tricking kids into eating food that isn't good for them'

Saturday, June 01, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: McDonald''s, fast food, marketing to children

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(NaturalNews) Sometimes the simplest truths in life are proclaimed from the mouths of children, and this was definitely the case at the recent annual shareholder meeting of fast food giant McDonald's, where a nine-year-old girl schooled the company's CEO Don Thompson on the issue of junk food. According to reports, Hannah Robertson flat-out asked Thompson why his company tricks children into eating junk food by marketing it to them with toys and cartoon characters, upon which he denied that McDonald's even serves any junk food.

"Something that I don't think is fair is when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn't good for them by using toys and cartoon characters," read young Hannah as part of her statement during the meeting. "If parents haven't taught their kids about healthy eating, then the kids probably believe that junk food is good for them because it might taste good," she added.

Though Hannah did not name any specific unhealthy McDonald's food options, she is presumably referring to things like McDonald's French fries, which lack basic nutrition and are cooked in genetically-modified (GM) oils like soybean and canola. She may also be referring to common McDonald's foods consumed by children such as chicken McNuggets, which are made with processed flours, derivatives of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and various GM oils and additives.

"It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time," retorted Hannah during her speech. "Mr. Thompson, don't you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and happy life?

McDonald's CEO says company doesn't sell junk food, insists his own children eat it

In his response, Thompson denied that McDonald's sells junk food, adding that his own children eat McDonald's. He went on to claim that his children cook at home with their parents just like Hannah does with her mother Kia, and that together they "cook a lot of fruits and veggies." As far as the unhealthy food McDonald's still sells, Thompson did not admit that they exist, and instead went on to explain that more McDonald's meals, including Happy Meals for children, contain healthy fruit and vegetable options.

At the same time, Thompson failed to address the issue for which Hannah's mother Kia has been advocating, which involves exposing McDonald's as a predatory marketer to children. Kia reportedly started working with a group known as "Moms Are Not Lovin' It" just before Mother's Day that wants to see McDonald's stop advertising unhealthy foods directly to children.

"As a corporation you might not 'have to' think about the effects of your marketing ... but as parents and grandparents there must be a part of you that knows it's just not right," explained Kia directly to Thompson when she got the chance to speak. "You are a leader in your industry, so you know very well that the fast food industry is changing - in order to keep up maybe it's time for some genuine change at McDonald's."

Responding to this, Thompson denied that his company subverts parental authority, and even denied that his company's food is a cause of obesity, which is a frequently-voiced complaint against McDonald's. To the contrary, Thompson says McDonald's never markets "unjustly" to kids, and that characters like Ronald McDonald are all about "fun."

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