Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall call for childhood obesity action

Jamie Oliver is ‘informal adviser’ to top McDonald’s bosses despite saying burgers unfit for human consumption

Healthy eating campaigner built reputation on fight against dodgy school dinners

Alex Matthews-King
Health Correspondent
Monday 04 February 2019 01:15
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Celebrity chef and outspoken critic of junk food Jamie Oliver has acted as an informal advisor to McDonald’s executives for years – despite repeatedly criticising the chain.

Mr Oliver has had regular meetings with the fast food giant’s most senior UK managers, including chief executive Paul Pomroy, though he doesn’t have a commercial relationship with the company.

The meetings, to discuss healthy eating initiatives, were revealed by the Press Association which said they had been taking place for several years.

Mr Oliver built a reputation as a healthy eating campaigner in his fight against dodgy school dinners, and he has advocated a raft of measures for combatting child obesity – including a tax on sugary drinks.

In 2011 the chef said McDonald’s burgers were “not fit for human consumption” and called for an end to its use of a processed beef additive, which he dubbed “pink slime”, in its US products.

As recently as 2016 he voiced opposition to the company’s sponsorship of the Olympics and campaigned to only allow sponsors which met nutritional and ethical standards. He is also calling for a pre-watershed ban on TV junk food adverts.

But more recently his criticism has mellowed and he has been quoted as saying he would allow his children to eat at the chain.

Mr Pomroy also took part in a charity cook-off organised by Mr Oliver’s food foundation.

Mr Oliver has also caused controversy working with other big companies; he currently has a partnership with Shell through which his company has created a healthier food-to-go range for the firm’s service stations.

He came under fire for collaborating with the oil giant, but insisted that it was the best way to get the food to the widest audience.

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Speaking at the launch of the range, Mr Oliver said food companies must help drive change in diets.

“If we want Britain to be in a healthier, more productive place in 15 to 20 years, we absolutely need businesses to be on that journey.”

The Jamie Oliver Group was approached for comment.

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