In a strange bit of hypocrisy, McDonald's internal employee website advises workers not to eat a fast-food cheeseburger and fries -- pointing out that a subway sandwich is a healthier choice when eating out. The content was provided by a third-party vendor, according to CNBC which first reported on the site.
The McResource Line site -- which can be accessed by the public after registering online -- appears to steer McDonald's employees away from eating where they work, though it doesn't name the actual establishment.
"In general, avoiding items that are deep fried are your best bet," the site advises on a page devoted to fast food tips. "Healthier choices include sandwiches that can be loaded with vegetables. Limit the extras such as cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise. Eat at places that offer a variety of salads, soups and vegetables to help maintain your best health."
The site acknowledges efforts by fast-food chains to improve the nutritional quality of their food in recent years by, for example, banning partially hydrogenated oils full of trans fats. But, it also says, "even with these changes, it is hard to eat a healthy diet when you eat at fast-food restaurants often. Many foods are cooked with a lot of fat, even if they are not trans fats."
McDonald's spokesperson Lisa McComb told me via email that "reporting is inaccurate" concerning the website and that the "site does not advise against fast food."
McDonald's issued this statement: "Portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context. This website provides useful information from respected third-parties about many topics, among them health and wellness. It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald's agrees with this advice."
The company is correct about the website including a lot of other health information beyond fast-food. In fact, I was only able to find two pages devoted to fast-food advice. But the advice, in my opinion, wasn't taken out of context and makes it pretty clear that people should limit their intake of fast-food from burger joints.
"In general, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease must be very careful about choosing fast food because of its high fat, salt, and sugar levels," the site says. It warns against ordering chicken that's breaded or fried -- bye bye McNuggets -- and a host of caveats when ordering a hamburger advising that "a single, plain meat patty without the cheese and sauces is the best choice. Ask for extra lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Limit how many French fries you eat. Ketchup contains a lot of calories from sugar."
McDonald's said in its statement that they "introduced oatmeal, grilled chicken, egg whites and real-fruit smoothies" for a "variety of balanced menu choices." I just wonder how many customers are actually passing up the Egg Mcmuffin and Big Mac for oatmeal or a piece of grilled chicken. Maybe, at least, some employees are.