As many of you know, just one week ago The Lunch Tray broke an exclusive story regarding 540 Meals: Choices Make the Difference, a new McDonald’s documentary intended for use as “nutrition education” in middle and high schools. The film is the company’s answer to Super Size Me and features John Cisna, an Iowa science teacher and paid McDonald’s “brand ambassador” who lost weight by eating nothing but McDonald’s for six months.
In my post I explained all the reasons why I’m troubled by the company’s plan to screen 540 Meals to students as young as age eleven, from the film’s aggressive brand marketing to the fact that, in this era of childhood obesity, 540 Meals seems cynically calculated to encourage kids to eat more fast food.
Within just a few hours, my post began to attract the attention of news outlets. By the end of last week, pieces about 540 Meals had appeared in Reuters, CBS News, Fortune, Business Insider, Yahoo News!, Civil Eats, Mother Jones, The Huffington Post, Gawker, Eater, the International Business Times, and many other sources, even reaching news outlets outside the United States.
With growing media attention focused on this previously unpublicized school outreach program, McDonald’s actually pulled from the Internet the link to the film contained in my post. (I’ve replaced it with an unlisted YouTube link.)
The company was also required to answer the press’s questions about 540 Meals and its responses were not encouraging. McDonald’s told Reuters it stands by the program, while Mr. Cisna told CBS News he “‘can’t fathom’ why people believe it’s problematic.”
Mr. Cisna may be baffled, but last week I heard nothing but dismay from people like you regarding McDonald’s attempt to get 540 Meals into schools.
That’s why this morning I’ve launched a Change.org petition urging McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook to bring an immediate end to the 540 Meals school outreach program.
McDonald’s may be one of the largest corporations on the planet, but it’s not immune to consumer pressure. So please sign the petition — and please also take a minute to share it with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #540Meals) and email. If we all act together, I really think we have a chance of stopping this aggressive and misguided in-school marketing program in its tracks.
Thank you so much for your support of this important effort.
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