Food Companies More Responsible in the UK?

Last Updated Sep 9, 2009 1:00 PM EDT

McDonald's eggs come exclusively from free-range chickens grown without antibiotics or genetically modified feed ingredients.

In the UK, that is.

In the U.S., it's a different story. And when McDonald's here started looking into different, potentially more humane ways of slaughtering chickens, who did it turn to? To its suppliers in Europe that are already using those methods.

And McDonald's isn't the only one. Starbucks offers Fair Trade coffee in the U.S., but in the UK, Fair Trade is all Starbucks sells. And I know I've read about similar trends with other companies.

I wonder why that is. Are these initiatives more profitable in the UK? Do Americans just care less? Is it easier to source ethical products in Europe? Or is it something about the management themselves -- perhaps CEOs in the UK are more crunchy to begin with?

Restaurant chains in the UK -- including Burger King, KFC, Subway and Pizza Hut -- also agreed to provide customers with nutritional information on menus before it became such a trend in the U.S. But I'd guess that's more about averting legislation than about any actual concern.

  • Katherine Glover