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London Olympics 2012: McDonald's At Olympic Park Is The Biggest

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Food lies on the counter at a McDonalds restaurant on November 27, 2003 in London. McDonald's posted December 8, 2003 its eighth straight monthly gain in U.S. sales. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)
Food lies on the counter at a McDonalds restaurant on November 27, 2003 in London. McDonald's posted December 8, 2003 its eighth straight monthly gain in U.S. sales. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

LONDON -- The McDonald's at the London Olympic Park is supersized – but not, its critics say, super-healthy.

The fast-food giant, a top Olympics sponsor with exclusive rights to sell branded food products inside the venue, said Monday its two-story restaurant at the games will be its biggest and busiest in the world, seating 1,500 diners and serving up to 14,000 people a day.

But despite complaints by British doctors, the food choices at the Olympics are largely identical to McDonald's fare around the world – Big Macs, milkshakes, fries and chicken nuggets.

The only addition to the menu is iced fruit smoothies, which haven't yet been introduced in other British McDonald's.

The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges recently said that having McDonald's sponsor the Olympics sends the wrong message – not least in Britain, which is battling increasing obesity. The group also criticized London Olympic organizers for accepting sponsorships from Coca-Cola and brewer Heineken, the official drinks sellers at the games.

McDonald's says it is offering its menu mainstays of burgers and fries, alongside healthier options because people enjoy the familiarity. It also prints out calorie information per item on its menu boards.

"We do offer a breadth of menu," said Jill McDonald, chief executive at McDonald's UK. "You can see on the menu here we have grilled chicken wraps, we have salads, fruit smoothies as well as the more indulgent recipes that people know and love."

McDonald's will bring in 2,000 of its best staffers to run four outlets at the Olympics venue: the vast flagship, another restaurant for spectators, one in the Athletes' Village and a fourth in the Media Center.

All will be dismantled after the games end, and executives stressed the efforts to which designers have gone to ensure that the restaurants conform to Olympic organizers' sustainability ambitions.

Three-quarters of the furniture and fittings at the flagship are set to be reused in other McDonald's restaurants after the games, and special waste-sorting facilities will ensure that most garbage gets recycled, executives said. All the beef will come from British farms, and the chocolate used in muffins will be fair-trade.

McDonald's has been an official Olympics sponsor since 1976, and said it would be using its expertise to provide "high-quality British food" at the games.

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