Mickey D's in pressure cooker over eggs

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Surely you have seen the McDonald's fancy-coffee campaign --
they want to be a Starbucks alternative. Today's Financial Times says McDonalds is taking that fight to Europe, planning to open hundreds of new McCafes on the Continent. What will they say?

Back home, McDonald's annual shareholders meeting is today in Oak Brook, Ill. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sarah Gardner tells us about a shareholder resolution that would make McDonald's eggs cage-free.


Sarah Gardner: Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States says Wendy's, Burger King, Hardee's -- they've already started using cage-free eggs, even if it's just a small fraction. So where's Mickey D's?

Paul Shapiro: There's no excuse for McDonald's to continue lagging behind its competition on an issue as important as animal welfare.

Activists are squawking about McDonald's because it's the biggest egg buyer in the country. In 2001, the Golden Arches took the lead by demanding its suppliers give more cage space for hens. Its suppliers didn't like it, but they did it

Fast food analyst R.J. Hottovy says if McDonald's demanded cage-free eggs, many producers would switch.

AR.J. Hottovy: I think certainly it's something that could turn the tide and you see more and more people go to a cage-free stance.

McDonald's is already phasing out "caged" egg McMuffins in Europe. The authorities there will ban crowded hen cages by 2012. But McDonald's says it won't make a decision on doing the same here before it completes a large-scale study on the issue.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.

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