McDonald's offers diet information on the net

LONDON - McDonald's has turned to the internet in its bid to combat accusations that it is contributing to the global obesity epidemic.

A new website, www.mcdonaldsmenu.info, is designed to help customers make a more informed choice about what they eat at the fast food chain.

Developed by the independent digital agency Ralph (formerly DS.Emotion), the website will launch in English, Italian and French, with a pan-European multi-lingual version due for roll-out across the continent later this year. Ralph was brought in by design consultancy Boxer, which came up with the concept for the site.

An online calculator allows consumers to work out their personal guideline daily amounts of calories, fat, carbohydrate, salt and sugar. The information is additional to nutrition facts available on McDonald's packaging and in restaurants.

Food companies have come under fire recently for avoiding strictures imposed by the advertising watchdogs by using the internet to push their products to children.

A report by the Food Commission, published in September 2005, accused companies such as Panda Pop, Nesquik and Frosties of using online advertising that would not be permitted on TV or posters.

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