McDonald’s subsidy angers opposition

Ministry has granted the fast-food industry millions in order to provide a “healthy” option for Danes

May 22nd, 2012 10:32 am| by admin

Enhedslisten (EL) and Liberal Alliance (LA) find it perplexing that the Danish tax payers are being asked to pay for fast-food joints to develop a healthy food concept.

A new project that will ensure that places like McDonald's, DSB's kiosks and Q8 petrol stations serve 'Keyhole-labelled' nutritional options that will be subsidised by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries to the tune of 4.5 million kroner.

Simon Emil Ammitzbøl, spokesman for LA, said that the initiative is redundant and a misuse of resources.

“It’s an unnecessary waste of money because Danes are not lacking places to get healthy food,” Ammitzbøl told 24timer newspaper. “And if the big companies want to change their menus, that is fine, but surely the tax payers shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

Per Clausen of EL was equally bewildered at the subsidy, indicating that the funds should instead go to smaller ecological businesses.

“We are talking about multinational and affluent conglomerates who haven’t paid taxes in Denmark for ages,” Clausen told 24timer. “So, I could easily find other more needy businesses to support, such as the small ecological producers who can’t afford to market or develop themselves. The money would make a real difference with them.”

But the food minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokratere), backs the project, saying that it will compliment the rising practise of eating on the run.

“The chains will also contribute financially to this,” Gjerskov told 24timer. “Lots of Danes eat meals on the go, often unhealthy ones, so I am focused on getting the keyhole label nutrition concept into the fast-food model,”

The 'Keyhole' label is a symbol put on food products to identify healthier food products within a product group. The Food Ministry says that choosing foods with the 'Keyhole' symbol makes it easier and less time consuming to find healthier products in food stores. Foods labelled with the 'Keyhole' symbol contain less fat, sugars and salt and more fibre than food products of the same type not carrying the symbol.