McDonald’s and Obesity
Case Study Reaction Paper
McDonald’s Corporation is encountering a paradigm shift in the manner in which society views responsibility and ownership of issues. Society appears to be moving away from personal responsibility and to one of corporate responsibility. The question that McDonald’s must continually face is “Should s person be able to sue a company because the coffee is too hot or because a video game caused them to become addicted?” (Schmaltz, 2010) A review of violent incidents at the G-8 Summits highlight the view dominant in a part of society - that corporations are not to be trusted. The 2001 G8 Summit evidenced “massive street protests” against “global capitalism”. Media outlets termed the riots of 2001 as staples of the Summit process. (G8 summit braces for more violence, 2001) The mob unrest issues at the Summits continued with excessive violence as shown at the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010. (Violence, vandalism rock G-20 protests, 2010) In Toronto, 1118 protestors were arrested because of massive and violent mob retaliation at the G20 Summit venue.(2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests, 2010) American corporations such as, McDonald’s were the targets of vandalism. (2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests, 2010) Financial abuse by corporations such as Enron, AIG, Bear Stearns, (StockMarket Crash of 2008, 2011) have contributed to the view that corporations and especially global and multinational corporations are trustworthy. It is this current view of global corporations that McDonald’s faces which lead to a cultural view that is negative against the corporation. In the realm of personal responsibility, the 2004 Congress passed a bill called “The Cheeseburger Bill” (Munger, 2004) the purpose of which was to ensure that “food manufacturers and sellers should not be held liable for injury because of a person’s consumption of legal, unadulterated food and a person’s weight gain or obesity”. (Munger, 2004) Americans do not believe that eating fast-food falls into the same category as smoking as it related to addiction, health consequences and responsibility. (Munger, 2004) According to a July 21, 2003 Gallup poll, most Americans – 89 percent – do not think that the fast food industry is legally responsible for diet related problems. (Munger, 2004) Europeans, and this is case is a UK based case, are more open to tighter controls on advertising and specifically advertisements that are targeted to children. (Munger, 2004) MP Debra Shipley has been trying to pass bills limiting food advertisements to children but has been unsuccessful to this point. (Fast food firms face screen test, 2003) (Poulter, 2011) The research shows that society still looks to parental authority and parental responsibility to address the issue of childhood obesity. First Lady Michele Obama has taken Childhood Obesity as her personal platform. (Lee, 2010) The first of the four key pillars of Mrs. Obama’s platform is: Getting parents more informed about nutrition and exercise. (Lee, 2010) In July, 2011, Mrs. Obama praised McDonalds for the changes that the corporation has made to their Happy Meal program whose market audience is children. (Jackson, 2011) Mrs. Obama is quoted in national media outlets with the following statements: Obama's statement:
"McDonald's is making continued progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals. I've always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity. McDonald's has continued to evolve its menu, and I look forward to hearing about the progress of today's commitments, as well as efforts in the years to come." (Jackson, 2011) This positive statement and attention from the First Lady and the Oval Office is a strong, positive and powerful response to all of the media fire that McDonalds has received in the past several years. In this...
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