McAfrika attack for burger giant
OLSO, Norway (CNN) -- Fast food giants McDonald's are being attacked for launching the "McAfrika" burger in Norway at the time southern Africa is facing famine.
The sale of the new hamburger in one of Europe's most affluent countries has provoked the anger of the Norwegian Red Cross and the country's Christian Aid campaign who say the launch is "tasteless."
The pitta-style sandwich containing beef, cheese, tomatoes and salad is said to be based on an authentic African recipe and is sold for around $4.25.
The promotion came as world leaders prepared for next week's "Earth Summit" in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"It's inappropriate and distasteful to launch a hamburger called 'McAfrika' when large portions of southern Africa are on the verge of starvation," Linn Aas-Hansen of Norwegian Church Aid told the Aftenposten newspaper Web site.
She stood outside a McDonald's restaurant in downtown Oslo this week, passing out free "catastrophe crackers" to passers-by in protest. "This is a special, protein-rich cracker that we hand out to people in the hunger-stricken areas," she said.
A spokesperson for McDonald's in Norway, Margaret Brusletto, told Aftenposten that McDonald's was sorry the name of its new burger had negative connotations.
"That wasn't our intention," she told Aftenposten. "At the same time, we acknowledge that we have chosen an unfortunate time to launch this new product."
A range of solutions were suggested to McDonald's including withdrawing the "McAfrika" burger from sale.
"We expect that McDonald's will contribute to the fight to stem starvation," Bjorg Mide of Norwegian Church Aid told Aftenposten. "The company can, for example, share proceeds from the sale of this hamburger with the aid organisations."
A UK spokesman for McDonald's told The Guardian newspaper that the company had offered to allow aid agencies to leave collection boxes and fundraising posters in its Norwegian restaurants selling McAfrika burgers as long as the "special promotion" continued.
The statement from the company said: "All of the involved parties are happy with this solution.
"We hope this will put a wider focus on the important job that these organisations are doing, and McDonald's in Norway is pleased to be able to support this."
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