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Banning plastic straws - a step in the right direction?

HeadResponding to McDonald's announcement that the company will replace plastic straws with paper ones from September, Dr Philippe Blanchard said: "McDonald's announcement reveals a welcome interest in developing greener practices, as positive as the brown paper they have been using for a long time.

"However this is a very minor move. McDonald's and other fast-food companies remain leaders in the use of disposable food packaging, from sandwich boxes to soda and coffee cups. Even if part of the packages end up in the right recycling bin, this industry of recycling is more costly to the environment than traditional, long-lasting dishes. The cost of the whole supply chain needs to be considered.

"The whole activity of fast-food companies is fundamentally oriented towards providing quick, visually attractive, easy-to-grab, easy-to-chew and swallow, fixes to customers' hunger. Research in dietetics and life styles shows that eating is not about fixing your hunger. Eating is a core activity of humans and all other animals. It deserves care and time. And with care and time come pleasure and health. The "fast" in "fast-food" remains an issue.

"Beyond packaging, fast food is highly processed, de-natured food. It takes us far away from what food could and should be--a contact with nature, with all its variety of smells, flavours and textures. Instead of that, the hamburger-style fast-food industry most of the time erases these marvellous properties before reconstructing artificial smells, flavours and textures that are supposed to please our modern tongues, following superficial marketing studies.

"A key argument in defence of fast-food is that customers want that. But our tastes and consumption behaviours are conditioned by marketing and advertising. Reducing these would enable us to rebuild our ability to know and enjoy food."

15 June 2018

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