Natural Foods Merchandiser

McDonald's Tries Newman's Own Dressings

Burger giant McDonald's Corp., taking it on the chin for making Americans obese and failing to drop unhealthy cooking oils from its kitchens, in March added some healthier choices to its U.S. menus with the introduction of three entrée salads served with Newman's Own all-natural salad dressings.

The new premium salads, as well as a side salad made from premium mixed greens, were to be available in restaurants nationwide beginning March 24. This announcement followed news released in February that the behemoth restaurant chain, with 30,000 units worldwide, would begin selling only low-fat, organic milk in its U.K. stores.

Under the exclusive agreement, Newman's Own will provide four types of salad dressings—California Cobb, Creamy Caesar, Ranch Restaurant Style and Light Balsamic Vinaigrette—in 2-oz packages.

"It's a start," Carbondale, Colo.-based dietitian Amy Barr said. "We've always joked that the salads were on the menu for the adults. But McDonald's has been losing market share and needed to do something, nutritionally speaking, to attract customers back."

McDonald's has been in the health hot seat since a lawsuit was filed on behalf of two obese New York girls claiming the restaurant did not provide them with adequate nutrition information. The suit was dismissed Jan. 22. Since then, McDonald's has debuted an online menu planner that allows prospective customers to fill a virtual bag with food items and then calculate the nutritional value of the meal.

Still, McDonald's has been roundly criticized for failing to make good on its promise to complete a transition to frying oil lower in trans fatty acids by the end of February.

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