Thank You!
Search OCA:
Get Local!

Find Local News, Events & Green Businesses on OCA's State Pages:

OCA News Sections

Organic Consumers Association

How the US Government Helps McDonald's Sell Junk Food

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Health Issues page.

The feds also helped bring you the Taco Bell Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla and several other fast-food gems.  

The USDA's MyPlate program recommends going easy on fast food: "People who eat out more often, particularly at fast food restaurants, are more likely to be overweight or obese," it says.

Sounds sensible enough. But there's one little problem: The USDA also oversees the dairy checkoff, a group that works hand in hand with fast-food chains. That's one of the main findings in a new report by Michele Simon, a public health lawyer who writes about food politics. The bulk of the dairy checkoff's work with fast-food chains happens through a marketing group called Dairy Management Inc., which regularly helps companies create and promote menu items that contain dairy-many of which are a far cry from USDA's recommendations for a healthy diet. A few examples:   


Graphic by Julia Lurie

Here are a few more details on those partnerships:

Since 2009, the dairy checkoff has promoted (PDF) what it calls "cheese demand-enhancement" through a partnership with Domino's Pizza. By creating a pizza with 40 percent more cheese, it has generated $177 million through sales of more than a billion additional pounds of milk. In 2013, the dairy checkoff helped Domino's introduce a USDA-approved school lunch pizza called Smart Slice in 450 districts across 39 states. 

In 2013, the Dairy Checkoff partnered with Taco Bell to launch Cantina Double Steak Quesadillas and new cheese shreds, increasing its total dairy sales by 4 percent.  In 2013, the dairy checkoff helped Pizza Hut create the 3 Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza, the chain's first new permanent menu item in almost 20 years. 

A dairy checkoff partnership helped Starbucks launch its smoothies, which use more than 3.7 million pounds of whey protein each year. (PDF

The USDA's National Dairy Promotion and Research Program helped McDonald's launch McCafé beverages and the Angus Cheeseburger (now discontinued). (PDF)

The dairy checkoff also provides six dairy specialists-who offer "technical assistance, support, and dairy expertise"-to McDonald's, and it employs an on-site dairy scientist at Taco Bell.      


>>> Read the Full Article

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords: