McDonald's Chews Fat with "Independent" Obesity Researchers

When previously spotted pitching in to help the cause of "independent" research involving its products, McDonald's Corp. asked a Connecticut nun to quickly issue an unfinished report about farm workers in order to help the fast food giant fight off a fair wage campaign by migrant tomato pickers. Now McDonald's has donated $2 million to the Scripps Research Institute of La Jolla, California, which (like Sister Ruth Rosenbaum) says it does independent research, this time on the critical medical issue of child obesity. The Institute's press release headline announces, "The Scripps Research Institute, McDonald's Align to Fight Childhood Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes." The release describes McDonald's as "serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day." It also states, "The relationship unites Scripps ... world-renowned scientists...with McDonald's 50-year legacy of supporting programs that promote children's health and wellness." Bloggers at CarbWire, a diet industry website, call the move a "publicity stunt." Under the Institute's own philanthropy guidelines, McDonald's gift makes it a member of Scripps' "Council of 100" and enables the company to "enjoy private sessions specifically designed for them with....[r]esearch scientists."