Despite the overwhelming popularity of shows like The Biggest Loser and Heavy, which often show obese people chowing down on fast food, not to mention increasingly alarming statistics on childhood obesity, McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) has essentially managed to duck that bullet. (Though in the interest of full disclosure, during the Morningstar Stocks Forum last November, an unknown audience member yelled out to a McDonald’s executive speaking at the event that their food kills people).
Up until now, that is.
Yesterday, in the preliminary proxy that McDonald’s filed was proposal No. 11 from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, which makes the connection between childhood obesity and fast food like that sold by McDonald’s, crystal clear. Here’s a snip:
WHEREAS, the contribution of the fast food industry to the global epidemic of childhood obesity and to diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, have become a major public issue…
RESOLVED: Shareholders ask the Board of Directors to issue a report, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, within six months of the 2011 annual meeting, assessing the company’s policy responses to public concerns regarding linkages of fast food to childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children’s health. Such report should include an assessment of the potential impacts of public concerns and evolving public policy on the company’s finances and operations.
Because this was just the preliminary proxy, McDonald’s has yet to file a response, though we’ll go out on a limb here and bet that they’ll not only come out swinging on this one with lots of facts and figures, but will also suggest that shareholders vote against the company having to issue such a report.
We’ll go out on another limb and say that the proposal probably has less than a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. But that doesn’t really matter. Like it or not, and no matter what you think about McDonald’s and the ability of people to make their own choices about the food that they eat , this shareholder proposal is going to force the company to answer some difficult and pesky questions.
We’re in the midst of filings season and there’s literally hundreds of filings that we’re sorting through to find the most actionable items that we’re only sharing with FootnotedPro subscribers. So far this week, we’ve identified over 100 different red flags. FootnotedPro: Interesting. Actionable. Profitable.