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MLive promotes McDonald’s in story about Conklin apple farmer

January 16, 2013

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Yesterday, MLive ran a story about a Conklin apple farmer that will be featured in a new McDonald’s commercial promoting the fast food giant’s apples slices on their menu.

The article reads more like a public relations piece, with a hyperlink to McDonald menu page and information about a commercial watching party that the apple farmer is having with friends in Sparta.

The story doesn’t even have information about how much the apple farmer was paid to be in the McDonald’s commercial and the only useful information was that McDonald’s plans on using the West Michigan apples in all 14,000 restaurants across the country. So much for being local.

MLive doesn’t bother to ask questions about the significance of such a contractual agreement nor the impact that fast food companies like McDonald’s has on food policy or local food movements.

According to Eric Schlosser’s book, Fast Food Nation, McDonald’s has a horrendous history of providing low quality food. Research by other activists has demonstrated that fast food companies like McDonald’s contributed to environmental destruction, poor public health, animal cruelty and even deceptive advertising practices that target children. These themes are dealt with in detail in the powerful documentary, MicLibel.

In addition to failing to talk about the function that McDonald’s plays in the current food system, the MLive article didn’t tell us anything about the apple farmer, apart from how many acres he owns.DownloadedFile

According to the Environmental Working Group, Leo Dietrich and Sons Orchards has been the recipient of $78,764 worth of government subsidies between 1995 and 2011. Some of these subsidies are to cover costs from natural disasters, like last years early frost, but other subsidies are for commodities in general and conservation practices.

Some might say that the local family’s contract with McDonald’s is a good thing, since it keeps them in business, but this should not prevent MLive from exploring what these kinds of contracts with fast food companies have on local food production and food policies.

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