McDonald's banishing cheeseburgers from Happy Meals

Posted February 17, 2018

NPR shares the details on what the Golden Arches has up its sleeve. McDonald's does not offer chocolate milk in its New Zealand Happy Meals.

McDonald's doesn't say how much revenue it makes from the $3 Happy Meal, but the company said 30 percent of all visits come from families. But they aren't exactly going to turn unhealthy kids healthy.

Others see the change not making as big of an impact as McDonald's thinks it will. Experts say that despite the changes, parents shouldn't be making fast-food a regular part of children's diets.

That leaves a hamburger, 4-piece or Chicken McNugget. Customers who ask for cheeseburgers will still be able to get them. In particular, sugary drinks such as lemonade, soda and fruit drinks, often included with kids' meals, are too high in sugar.

The company has been working with the not-for-profit Alliance for a Healthier Generation since 2013 to develop a plan for 20 major markets, including the United Kingdom, to increase customer access to fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and water. On Thursday, the chain said many of those markets are ahead of schedule in their progress on those efforts. There will be new standards put in place for the nutrition requirements of the meals.

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Starting in June, McDonald's Happy Meals will be slightly less happy if your child is a fan of the fast-food chain's famous cheeseburger.

The new worldwide guidelines, which the fast-food chain hopes to apply to at least half its menus by 2022, also call for a calorie count of 600 or less, with 10 percent from saturated fat and added sugar. Right now, 28 percent of Happy Meals in 20 markets meet those criteria. In 2011, they added apple slices to their kids' meals. Aside from those guidelines, they will also work on removing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives when they can, and will be transparent about nutrition information for customers. This is huge considering 42 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 9 eat fast food on any given day in the USA alone.

McDonald's has more than 37,000 locations in more than 100 countries.

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on new commitments from McDonald's and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

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