McDonald’s To Have Monopoly On Fries At London Olympics

July 12, 2012Investingby EW News Desk Team

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Food caterers at the upcoming London Olympics have been banned from serving fries – otherwise known as “chips” in the U.K. – at any of the games’ events, reported the Daily Mail on Wednesday, after fast food giant McDonald's obtained exclusive rights to sell the dish in and around Olympic venues.

In a memo issued to the games’ staff, the London Organising Committee of the Olympics (Locog) attempted to downplay any resistance to the move; and pleaded for understanding from employees – particularly towards caterers.

“Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonalds, Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympics) have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park,” wrote the memo.

“The only loophole to this is if it (chips) is served with fish,” it added, in reference to the popular U.K. dish fish and chips.

“Please understand this is not the decision of the staff serving up your meals, who given the choice would gladly give it you however they are not allowed to.”

“This is being escalated through to the directors of L2012C and Locog and the IOC.  Please do not give the staff grief; this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely,” the memo warned.

McDonald's is the official restaurant sponsor of the Olympics and is expected to provide up to 10 percent of meals served at the Games. Under its deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the fast-food chain also has the sole rights to sell french fries.

Along with Coca Cola, Cadbury, Nature Valley and Heineken, McDonalds will also be among the only branded food products allowed to be sold at venues.

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Some medical experts as such have questioned whether fast food and alcohol brands should be allowed to sponsor the Olympics in the first place.

Dr Tony Jewell, Wale’s chief medical officer, told the BBC that he wanted to "break the links" between sports and fast food, fizzy drinks and alcohol.

"Top athletes do not succeed by consuming burgers, chips and cola, or binge drinking," he said. "Like smoking, they do nothing to improve sporting prowess, and consumed regularly, contribute to obesity and related health problems.

"There is much to do to tackle obesity, and stating clearly that fast food has no place in sport, sends a clear message,” Jewell added.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman though argued that the company was serving "high quality British food quickly and safely" at the Olympics, which she claimed that not many businesses would be able to accomplish.

"Sponsorship is essential to the successful staging of the Olympics and Paralympics," she said.

"We recognise that public health issues like obesity are complex matters that cannot be solved by governments or companies alone…[but] ultimately it's up to individuals to make the right food, drink, and activity choices for themselves and our broad range of menu options in a variety of sizes, together with the nutrition information, means that customers can make more informed choices."

"The IOC hugely values the long-term sponsorship and support of both McDonald's and Coca-Cola,” added IOC president Jacque Rogge in a statement mailed to Reuters.

“Through the years we have personally witnessed the positive impact that they make as TOP sponsors,” he said.

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