McDonalds burger goes McMassive for World Cup

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Hamburger

Leading fast food chain McDonalds has announced the launch of a
super-sized Big Mac burger for the World Cup event, amid a flurry
of opposition from food experts and MPs.

The burger will consist of two beef patties - which are thicker than the current offering - with two buns, lettuce, cheese and the secret Big Mac sauce.

A company spokesperson said the product will be 40 per cent larger than the existing burger, and will give fans a special treat during the international football contest.

Although there are no nutritional figures available yet for the super-size burger, the existing Big Mac contains over half an adult's daily allowance of saturated fat. It has 560 calories and weighs around 280g.

The new burger will launch in the UK at the start of June, with restaurants in France and Germany also expected to carry the line.

"This is a limited edition burger that will offer football fans more of what they enjoy,"​ the spokesperson said.

However the product has attracted some high-profile critics. Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb told the House of Commons there was no need for a bigger burger and has started a petition in parliament against the launch.

He criticised McDonalds for using England's football World Cup campaign to promote the burger.

Meanwhile, opposition is mounting against fast food companies and their promotional practices as an obesity epidemic, similar to the US problem, looks set to sweep Europe.

Campaigners in the UK are now preparing to take television watchdog Ofcom to court over its failure to impose restrictions on junk food advertisements appearing on television before the 9pm watershed.

After 9pm programmes are no longer rated suitable for family viewing, and the National Heart Forum, a group of medical professionals, says fast food marketing should be prohibited during this time to minimise children's exposure.

But Ofcom has ruled out such a ban in its junk food ad consultation, full results of which are expected next month.

At a recent meeting between the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the consensus was that there is clearly a lot of work ahead to reverse the obesity trend - but governments and the food industry need to get on side.

"It is a sad fact that overweight and obesity affect the poorest parts of society most, and also have long-term consequences or one of its most vulnerable groups children,"​ said Dr Marc Danzon, WHO regional director for Europe.

"Everyone must have access to healthy food, and government policies must support both availability and access in Europe."

Obesity remains one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. Its prevalence has risen threefold in many European countries since the 1980s, and the numbers of those affected, particularly children, are continuing to increase at an alarming rate.

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