I'm sure most of you have heard about the controversy surrounding McDonald's and its recent efforts to embrace regional food in Italy.
I thought I'd share a few thoughts on this story, and then throw it out to readers for your thoughts.
To me, the idea that Italy is selling out its cuisine to a big corporation is simply laughable. Sure, nobody will ever confuse McDonald's food with quality homemade Italian cuisine. But how does securing a large, local customer for foods grown by domestic Italian farmers equate to selling out? In my view, it's an act of support, during a time of deep economic stress no less, for a critically important domestic industry.
It's more typical of governments to create confusing food pyramids, or worse, create enormous bureaucracies which, ironically, fail to regulate the very industry they are designed to regulate. Italy's Agriculture Ministry deserves some credit for not getting in the way of a good idea.
Keep in mind that Italy has some 60 million people, and it's the world's 10th largest economy. Therefore, when a large company in Italy makes a relatively sound environmental decision, and then scales that decision across the entire country, it can make an enormous difference--both for the environment and for the local agriculture movement. Let's not instinctively bash McDonald's just because it's some big corporation.
Here's a rare example of a private sector company doing something surprisingly sound from an environmental standpoint.
As far as what the culinary impact might be, well, we might have to keep our expectations a bit low on that front.
Readers, what's your take?
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