Information that Switzerland closed all McDonald’s restaurants is false

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Banks and Finances, an online edition, ran an article on June 18 saying that Switzerland closed McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain after European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos received more than 120 applications demanding a legal ban on any fast food. The article also focuses on the problems persisting in Italy, Spain and Germany in this regard and cites The Georgian Times as a source, but when clicking the link, the article with a headline “Switzerland Closes All McDonald’s Restaurants” does not open anymore.

This information is false, it is based on Russian sources and the following circumstances clearly confirm it:

  • McDonald’s restaurant chain is still functioning in Switzerland and it is confirmed by the chain’s website.
  • Switzerland is not an EU member state. According to the story, the country banned fast food restaurants after European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos received more than 120 applications demanding a legal ban on fast food. The EU jurisdiction does not apply to the non-EU member states.
  • European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos mentioned in the article does not hold this position anymore. Presently, Commissioner Phil Hogan is in charge of agriculture issues. Dacian Ciolos held this position in 2010-2014.
  • Similar information was disseminated in Russian social network and media on March 21, 2012, but it was reported a day later that the information was not true. English-language version of online edition Pravda.ru released an article on March 21, 2012, which focused on the problem of obesity in European countries as well as tax regulations introduced by some countries (Denmark, France) to increase the price of unhealthy food and drinks. The next day Pravda.ru apologized for a piece of misinformation in the article, saying that the information that the Swiss government planned to close all McDonald’s restaurants was not true and that part of the article had been deleted. Despite it, the material was still disseminated in Russian social media and websites as a real fact. The deleted part of the article can still be found in a number of publications.
  • Banks and Finances provides wrong information in an affirmative form at the end of its article, when it claims that “following this scandal Europe refused to be tolerant towards any foods and launched a movement of healthy food “Slow Food”.

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. Since its beginnings, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries. In Switzerland the organization was founded in 1993. According to the organization’s website, it receives funding from European Union too.

Russia’s Practice

In August, 2014 by decision of RosPotrebNadzor, Russia’s federal service for surveillance on consumer rights protection and human wellbeing, and later by court ruling, about 12 McDonald’s restaurants were closed.

Earlier, RosPotrebNadzor banned imports of Georgian wine and Belarus dairy products. In summer 2014 Russia banned fruit, vegetables, fish and alcoholic beverages from Ukraine. In August 2014, an embargo was imposed on imports of meat, poultry, fish and dairy produce from the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and the European Union in response to those countries’ economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

As a part of the same sanctions, in August 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering the destruction of all food brought into the country against import bans on Western products.

In 2016, Coca-Cola wished consumers a happy New Year with a controversial map published in social media (VKontakte) that ended up stirring anger among some Russian politicians and consumers, as the map of Russia did not include Crimea. Later, Coca-Cola changed the map and included Crimea that unleashed a firestorm in Ukraine. Ultimately, the company had to delete the map.


Prepared  by Dali Kurdadze

Topic: Economics
Violation: Disinformation
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