The McItaly burger uproar
McDonald's is invading Italy with a cunningly "local" burger — and food purists are biting back
A food fight has broken out in Italy over McDonald's new "McItaly" sandwich — an Italian beef burger strategically arrayed with local toppings such as Asiago cheese and artichoke spread. Though critics call the sandwich an affront to Italian cuisine, Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia, who has taken to wearing a McDonald’s apron to promote the McItaly, praises McDonald's for giving Italian farmers and cheesemongers a boost. Is the government's plug a “monstrous act of national betrayal,” as one critic called it, or just a smart business move? (Watch a report about the McItaly burger)
A ludicrous idea, with dubious intentions: The McItaly is the latest weapon in McDonald's push to standardize global tastes, says Carlo Petrini at the Slow Food Movement — a plan that will only bleed local cuisine of its flavor. But the real "insult" is claiming this will help local farmers, when it's really just forcing them to sacrifice tradition and their own profits for McDonald's bottom line.“A Letter to the McItaly Burger”
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em: “Thousands of European youngsters” chow down at McDonald’s daily, says Italian Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia in a Guardian editorial. Why not give them a “healthier,” “better quality” burger that supports local Italian agriculture? Let “elite” foodies dine on organics in 5-star restaurants — the McItaly brings local produce to the cash-strapped masses.“McDonalds launch McItaly burger”
Healthy? Hardly: A fast-food burger is a fast-food burger, says Hailey Eber in BlackBook. Wrapping the McItaly in the flag (literally — the burger is packaged in national colors) neither makes it a source of Italian pride nor a healthy meal. Forget about the McItaly. McDonald's should focus on devising a truly healthy burger. "Now that...would be a novelty.""McItaly burger creates McControversy"
It'll take more than the McItaly to destroy Italy's epicurean tradition: The food purists are getting upset over nothing, says James Norton on Chow. Does anyone really think Italians will ditch their proud, "hyperlocal culinary heritage" for a lowly burger?“The McItaly McControversy”
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S COVERAGE OF FAST-FOOD MANIA:• McDonald's at the Louvre, Hookers for Olympic gold• The McNugget meltdown - and 6 more fast-food freakouts• McDonald's recruiting on campus• Banning fast food near schools