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The wrapping is sometimes as important as the product. After pressure from civil trial lawyers and consumer groups the nation’s largest restaurant chain will begin printing nutritional facts on the packaging of its burgers and fries. McDonald’s said the labelling would include the fat, salt, calorie and carbohydrate content of its foods. We learn this news from the BBC.

Critics have accused the company of contributing towards rising levels of obesity and other health problems.

Nutritional information on items such as the Big Mac, which contains 30g of fat, are currently only available in leaflets or on the company’s website.

McDonald’s said it hoped to have the new packaging in 20,000 of its 30,000 fast food restaurants worldwide by the end of 2006.

McDonald’s chief executive Jim Skinner said printing nutritional facts on the packaging of its foods would put the information directly in the hands of the company’s customers. “We think this the absolutely easiest way to communicate it,” Mr Skinner said.

“We’ve given them what they asked for and then people take responsibility about whether they add it up or not add it up.”

McDonald’s has been introducing items such as salads and fruit to its menus, alongside the company’s more traditional fare of burgers, fries and milkshakes.

Earlier this year, the US company announced that it was giving its iconic mascot clown Ronald McDonald a sporty new makerover in a bid to encourage children to take up more active lifestyles. But critics have maintained that many of the foods on offer at McDonald’s are unhealthy and fattening, at a time when obesity levels in many countries are soaring.

The world’s biggest restaurant company said it hoped to introduce the new packaging by February next year in time for the Winter Olympics in Italy.

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