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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 22:19 GMT 23:19 UK
MPs 'slammed over football trip'
McDonald's logo
McDonald's is one of the sponsors of Euro 2004
Health experts have criticised MPs for going on a trip to Euro 2004 funded by McDonald's, according to a newspaper.

The fast food chain confirmed it is paying part of the trip to Portugal by a Westminster parliamentary team.

Public health doctors told the Sunday Mirror it was "seriously irresponsible" for MPs to promote fast food.

Last month, a Commons health committee warned fast food advertising had to be reduced in order to tackle the obesity "timebomb" threatening life expectancy.

Its report called for measures such as cookery lessons and a voluntary ban by the food industry on TV junk food ads.

'Inappropriate'

The paper claims the four-day trip by the Westminster Parliamentary Football Club will cost 20,000.

It says MPs will watch England's game with France on Sunday and play a charity match with their Portuguese counterparts.

Dr Steve Watkins, of the British Medical Association's public health committee, told the newspaper: "For Members of Parliament to allow their names to be linked to promote fast food is seriously irresponsible.

We've also been making incremental changes to our menu including reducing the salt content
McDonald's spokesman
"It is entirely inappropriate for fast food chains to be linked to sport."

A McDonald's spokesman declined to say how much the trip cost but said it had arranged the match as one of the sponsors of Euro 2004.

He said the company promoted a "balanced diet and lifestyle" and had a tradition of encouraging sport.

He said: "McDonald's Community Football Programme, of which we are very proud, will recruit and train 10,000 new community football coaches by 2006, encouraging and supporting the development of grassroots football."

The restaurant chain's menu had been changed to make it more healthy, he added.




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