Fast food chain Krispy Kreme accused of using US  health sector as branding opportunity for addictive and toxic foods

Fast food chain Krispy Kreme accused of using US health sector as branding opportunity for addictive and toxic foods


Does getting a medical procedure at a fast-food restaurant seem strange to you? It didn’t bother the California Department of Health, which also teamed up with McDonald’s to offer pop-up Covid-19 shot clinics at more than 70 locations in the state.

“People who receive a vaccine at McDonald’s will also get a coupon for one free menu item as a thank you for doing their part,” CBS News reported.

It’s unclear how many people were lured in with the promise of free French fries, but when San Bernardino County’s mobile vaccine unit parked its truck outside a McDonald’s, it only had 22 takers in a four-hour span.

“Even at a fast-food restaurant, pop-up clinics see slow traffic,” California Healthline reported in July 2021. The “people who got vaccinated that day – in addition to the scores of others who drove by or waited in the McDonald’s drive-thru line without seeking a shot – offer a snapshot of California’s stalling vaccination effort.”

At the time, California had funded 155 shot clinics at more than 80 McDonald’s restaurants – a questionable use of taxpayer dollars.

As noted by California Healthline: “The pop-ups require significant resources and are showing diminishing returns. About 2,500 doses have been administered at the McDonald’s clinics so far – an average of 16 shots per event. The California Department of Public Health declined to say how much these events cost, saying it varies.”

It’s not only McDonald’s that became an icon for public health during the pandemic. Doughnut maker Krispy Kreme also announced March 22, 2021, that anyone who received at least one Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 shot could get a free doughnut at any US store.

Anyone who showed a Covid-19 vaccination card was eligible for the promotion and could get one free doughnut daily through the remainder of 2021.

Washington state took a different approach, with its Liquor and Cannabis Board offering a “Joints for Jabs” program. It ran Covid-19 shot clinics at state-licensed dispensaries and gave individuals who received a shot a pre-rolled joint for taking part.

The state also offered other incentives for residents to get injected, including free sports tickets and entries into a $1 million lottery. Arizona and Washington DC, also gave out free joints and marijuana edibles to individuals who showed proof of getting a Covid-19 shot.

This type of glamourisation of fast food and other perks to promote Covid-19 shots isn’t unique to the US, either. At one point during the pandemic, Royal Free Hospital, which is part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, tweeted the following along with a photo showing dozens of doughnut boxes:

“You guys at @krispykremeUK Enfield sure know how to put a smile on our staff’s faces!1,500 doughnuts delivered to our staff at Barnet Hospital-#glazeamaze.”

“I’ve got nothing against people having a treat,” cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra said. “But hospitals shouldn’t be promoting … and essentially advertising, the fact that we are giving 1,000 free Krispy Kreme doughnuts to nurses in the middle of the pandemic. I don’t think that was very productive considering what we know about the influence on Covid.”

That hospitals were promoting junk food and junk food companies instead of healthy food is reminiscent of Big Tobacco’s tactics, which not only suppressed the harmful effects of cigarettes but also recruited doctors to promote them, using slogans such as, “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”

“We see the same tactics repeating themselves,” Malhotra continued. “What Krispy Kreme is doing is using the NHS as a branding opportunity for what are essentially addictive, toxic foods that should just be treats but not part of the regular diet.”

The junk food industry has succeeded in making ultra-processed foods a mainstay of modern-day life, and in so doing created an epidemic of chronic diseases and obesity that raised mortality rates from Covid-19.

So naming them as “partners” in the fight against Covid-19 is not only insulting but misleading. In one study, more than 99 per cent of fatalities from Covid-19 occurred among people who had underlying medical conditions.

Among the fatalities, 76.1 per cent had high blood pressure, 35.5 per cent had diabetes and 33 per cent had heart disease.

Another study revealed that among 18- to 49-year-olds hospitalised due to Covid-19, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition. Chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity have a lot in common, including the fact that they’re often fuelled by poor diet.

Ultra-processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks are key culprits in the rise of such chronic diseases and therefore had a key role to play in Covid-19 deaths. Yet, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, multinational food corporations became “partners” with health officials in charge of public policy.

By naming McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme as partners in the fight against a pandemic, health officials further normalized the consumption of foods that lead to chronic disease and premature death. It’s almost as if they want you to get sick and unhealthy.

  • A Tell / The Defender report / By Dr Joseph Mercola, the founder of
About author

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *