Critics have long hounded McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) for its alleged role in diet-related illness, particularly when it comes to Happy Meals for kids. Now, advocacy group Corporate Accountability International has opened a new front in this campaign for healthier food. The group has sent a letter to hospitals across the nation that currently have a McDonald’s outlet on premises serving fast food fare to hospital workers and visitors.
The letter from Sara Deon, “Value [the] Meal Campaign Director” for CAI, calls on these hospitals “to end your contract with McDonald’s and to take action to remove the McDonald’s restaurant from your hospital.”
Deon cites the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in saying “in the decades to come, one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes as a result of diets high in McDonald’s-style junk food.”
As NPR.com points out, however, it’s not always so easy for a hospital to get out of the contracts it has with vendors. It cites the experience of Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., which has a 25-year contract with McDonald’s that it signed in 1992.
The CAI’s letter says these deals are part of a strategy by McDonald’s “to coopt the health community, to deflect blame for the epidemic of disease that it has helped drive, and to pose itself as part of the solution.”
Deon told USA Today that her group admits it’s “picking on McDonald’s because it is big: ‘They profit most and they lead the way.’”