During a visit to the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates yesterday, the Prince of Wales sparked controversy by criticizing McDonald’s. He even went so far as to suggest that a global ban on the fast-food company could lead to an improvement in child health.
When nutritionist Nadine Tayara told him the center discourages children from eating fast food, the prince, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, asked: ‘Have you got anywhere with McDonald’s, have you tried getting it banned? That’s the key’.
His comments provoked an immediate reaction from the US chain, which issued the following statement:
‘The comment made by the Prince of Wales appears to be an off- the-cuff remark that, in our opinion, does not reflect either our menu or where we are at as a business. We know that other Royal Family members have visited and have probably got a more up-to-date picture of us. It is disappointing as he is clearly unaware of some of the moves we have made to improve choice and variety on our menu.’
Such moves, made over the last three years, include ‘the introduction of fruit, carrot sticks, salads and organic milk, improved on-pack nutritional information and great progress … in support of sustainable agriculture’.
A spokeswoman for Clarence House, who is traveling with the prince and the Duchess of Cornwall on their 10-day tour, sought to minimize the prince’s intervention. ‘He has for a long time advocated the importance of a balanced diet, especially for children,’ she said. ‘In visiting the diabetes centre he was keen to emphasize the need for children to enjoy the widest variety of food and not to eat any particular food to excess.’