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McDonald's girds to counter book

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. will promote its healthier menu choices to counter negative publicity expected from a new book cowritten by the author of ''Fast Food Nation," chief executive Jim Skinner said yesterday.

While McDonald's maintains that the strategy is not aimed solely at undermining ''Chew On This," due out next month, Skinner acknowledged that ''it's important to ramp this up now" amid heavy criticism of the fast-food industry for its perceived role in increased obesity.

The approach signifies a departure from the way the world's largest fast-food chain remained mostly quiet after being skewered in both Eric Schlosser's ''Fast Food Nation" in 2001 and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary ''Super Size Me."

McDonald's has been adding products such as entree-sized salads and the option to substitute apple slices and juice for fries and soft drink in Happy Meals.

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