About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, March 05, 2010
The Heart Tick
What does the National Heart Foundation Approved white tick on a red background mean?

'A Tick approved food means it is a healthier choice when compared to similar foods. For example, meat pies with the Tick are lower in saturated and trans fats and sodium than other pies; cheese with the Tick is a healthier choice of cheese and when eating out, a meal with the Tick is a healthier choice of meal.'

From Heart Foundation FAQ's

So, I'd like to ask, what, if anything, is similar to a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish?

There's nothing that springs immediately to my mind, what about yours?

You see, since 2007, McDonalds has had the right to use the Heart Tick on a range of their meals, and their Filet-O-Fish has a Tick when eaten as a part of a meal that includes a 'Garden Salad' and a specified drink.

Want to know how committed McDonalds are to healthy eating?

The Filet-O-Fish is available from 10:30am until the store closes; the 'Garden Salad' that qualifies the meal for the Tick is only available for 2 hours at lunchtime. Yet the clam box that houses the Filet-O-Fish is clearly marked with the Tick no matter what time you buy it.

Could it possibly be just cynical marketing exploitation of a symbol that consumers have grown to trust as an indicator of the right things to eat?

Can someone explain the health benefit of a battered and deep-fried fish patty, topped with cheese and tartare sauce, served in a sweet bun?

Is it the more than 13g of fat of which a whopping 22% is saturated fat? Perhaps its the more that 1/2g of salt that does the trick.

When the Tick first came out, consumers were educated that it primarily meant low fat, butchers were encouraged to trim as much excess fat as possible to earn the Tick and farmers went along for the ride, trying to produce animals that were not as fatty as their predecessors.

Now it seems as if fat is okay, so long as it's a little bit less than the competition, which in this case, cannot be identified. How do those Heart Tick people manage to sleep at night?

Well, however they do, they best be prepared to move over.

Weight Watchers is hopping into the warm and cosy Ronald McDonald bed. Sleeping with a clown seems just about right for both of them.
  posted at 5:59 pm

At 8:05 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

According to this McDonalds paid $330,000 to get the tick on seven items in their menu.

So, a Heart Foundation tick set them back about $47,000 per item. Just a small fraction of the $979,500,000 that McDonalds made in the first three months of 2009.

At 10:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clowns are not friendly, they just appear to be friendly but who knows what is really under all that face paint?
These should clear everything up:


and more seriously:


At 11:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So agree with this post Neil. There are similarities between the RSPCA continuing to turn a blind eye to the practices in rearing animals for consumption, in some cases they tick off some battery hen farms that are blatantly non humane in their treatment of chooks.
I think Heart Foundation is at great risk of losing any credibility by signing on to this.
Having said this, I was shocked years ago & contunue to be when the Royal Child Hosp let a maccas into their foyer. Schools in the US have long had tie ins with maccas so I guess its just a matter of time before they start seeping into every institution, even the ones we are deluded into believing should be above such stuff

At 5:28 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi trav, maccas didn't pay anywhere near enough, did they? It's a joke that the heart foundation and weight watchers think they can modify McDonalds. Their core business is selling hamburgers.

Hi honey, I can tell you really don't trust clowns! Maybe with good reason...

Hi steve, I really wonder if people do think about things like credibility. But any way you look at it, it seems maccas have played both the heart foundation and weight watchers. What the hell were they thinking? I mean, did the heart foundation really think that maccas would suddenly switch to tofu burgers? Of course they didn't, but they seem to think the rest of us are idiots. A sell out is a sell out.

At 7:26 pm, Anonymous Duncan | syrupandtang said...

I think the Crikey.com health blog Croakey did a piece of the dodginess of the NHF tick sometime last year (but I can't find it right now). If I remember rightly, there are criteria for the tick (in addition to the remunerative element... ehem), and the particular product has to comply, but alas the criteria aren't tight enough to prevent these blinding examples of inappropriateness or the collateral benefit (the 'halo') of a tick being on one product in a range of junkfood, most of which might not meet the criteria.

At 10:02 am, Blogger neil said...

One of the criteria is that a filet-o-fish has to have less fat & salt than a competitior's counterpart, which doesn't exist. Another one is that the tick can only be given when the filet-o-fish is served with a salad and drink. The clam box shouldn't be allowed to carry the tick on its own.

I don't blame maccas for trying, I do blame the heart foundation for not doing anything about it, other than turning a blind eye.


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