Are the Olympics in the Pocket of Big French Fry?

No chip for you!

That's what irate sports fans must have been thinking when the London 2012 organizing committee (LOCOG) bowed to pressure from U.S. fast food giant McDonald's over who could and couldn't serve chips -- fries, to us Yanks -- on Olympic grounds.

As a sponsor of the Games, McDonald's exerts an extraordinary amount of control over who serves what nosh. So much control, in fact, that other food vendors have been barred from selling french fries as a standalone item. McDonald's, which is expected to serve some 10 percent of all meals at the Games, has a lock on the french-fry business with exclusive rights to sell the stuff to spectators. The only time you'll be permitted to buy deep-fried sticks of potato from non-McDonald's outlets is with fish, as in "fish and chips":

xFB4G.jpegimgur

LOCOG officials say that what they're trying to do is set up an international food festival. In addition to fast food, the organizing committee plans to serve traditional British fare like Cornish pasties, Yorkshire pudding, and "bangers," as well as more international items like sushi, salt beef, and goat curry. Which makes it all the more ironic that McDonald's would hold the french fry -- a treat with universal appeal -- under lock and key. What about somebody who wants to sell poutine? Or steak frites?

Presented by

Brian Fung is the technology writer at National Journal. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and has written for Foreign Policy and The Washington Post.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Health

Just In