For the second year in a row, McDonald’s shareholders voted down a resolution asking the company to assess its impact on public health. With fast food increasingly linked to diet-related diseases and childhood obesity, Corporate Accountability International partnered with more than 2,500 health professionals and institutions who are urging McDonald’s to stop marketing junk food to children.
The resolution supported by 6.4 percent of shareholders (up from 5.9 percent last year) requested:
…that the Board of Directors issue a report, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, within six months of the 2012 annual meeting, assessing the company’s policy responses to growing evidence of linkages between fast food and childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children’s health. Such report should include an assessment of the potential impacts of public concerns and evolving public policy on the company’s finances and operations.
Dr. Andrew Bremer, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, had this to say at the shareholder meeting:
McDonald’s can no longer ignore the spiraling costs of its business practices on our children’s health and on our healthcare system. This issue is not only critical to the health and well-being of generations to come, but also to shareholders who should be better informed about the liabilities associated with the businesses they’re investing in.
Maureen Morrison in Advertising Age quoted the company’s response:
We offer a variety of food choices to our customers; provide nutrition information about our menu items in a variety of accessible ways so that families can make informed decisions; communicate with children in a responsible manner through age appropriate marketing and promotional activities; and encourage children and families to live balanced, active lifestyles.
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