As McDonald's readies to open its biggest location in the world as part of its sponsorship of the Olympics, the chain's opponents are also ramping up their efforts to ban it and soda mega-corporation Coca-Cola from the games.
With just a month before competitions get underway, the London Assembly has voted to call for a ban on the two sponsors. The Olympics, an event that showcases the world's best athletic talent, should not be bankrolled by companies that produce high-calorie food and drinks that may contribute to obesity, believes the Assembly.
The London Assembly, established in 2000, is an elected body that monitors the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power to amend the mayor's annual budget.
The move urges the International Olympic Committee to adopt strict criteria for sponsorship of the Games, which would exclude companies like McDonald's and Coca-Cola.
But, the issue isn't black and white. Coca-Cola is the games' longest-running sponsor, since 1928, and McDonald's has been one since 1976. Over time, the companies have developed a mutually beneficially relationship.
TIME has the details:
But despite the criticism of their presence, without companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, the Olympics would be under serious financial threat, a fact that organizers are happy to admit. Cash generated by commercial partnerships accounts for more than 40% of Olympic revenues, and the companies under fire have been two of the biggest contributors for many years.
The two companies' sponsorships have been blasted by UK doctors, who say they send the wrong message in a country struggling with obesity rates.
McDonald's UK's chief executive, Jill McDonald, defended her company's offerings to the AP in May. "We do offer a breadth of menu," she said. "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."
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