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Jamie Oliver Privately Advised Fast Food Giant He Publicly Blasted

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Oliver called McDonald’s’ beef “not fit for human consumption” in 2011

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Jamie Oliver Discusses His New Cookbook ‘5 Ingredients: Quick And Easy Food’... Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Updated 5.02.19: with further comment from Jamie Oliver’s spokesperson on the nature of the TV chefs meetings with senior executives at the likes of McDonal’s.

According to multiple reports today, TV chef and cookbook author Jamie Oliver privately met with senior executives at McDonald’s to “discuss healthy eating initiatives.”

Oliver described ingredients in McDonald’s’ burgers as “unfit for human consumption” in 2011, and claimed a victory of sorts in 2012 when the fast food company pledged to remove the “pink slime” component of its burgers. That component, an ammonium hydroxide-washed beef filler produced by American company Beef Products Inc, was never, and has never been used in McDonald’s’ burgers in the U.K. or Ireland.

The Press Association reports that for “several years,” Oliver met with McDonald’s chief executive Paul Pomroy, among others. Exactly what was was discussed at the meetings remains unknown, however The Independent notes a softening in the tone of criticism from Oliver towards the fast food giant. In 2016 he campaigned against the likes of Coca-Cola and McDonald’s sponsoring the Olympics, but more recently has said he would allow his children to eat a McDonald’s burger.

A Jamie Oliver spokesperson told Eater this lunchtime: “Jamie and his companies has no current or planned formal or informal relationship with McDonalds and any reporting to the contrary is incorrect.”

Update: When asked whether Oliver had met with bosses in a professional capacity, the spokesperson added:

We have over the years had dialogue with numerous CEOs and their teams. These meetings have always been for them to understand our next campaigning steps and for us to understand their future direction. These meetings do not signal any form of potential future commercial agreements.

Oliver was criticised last year for partnering with the petrol giant, Shell, after he’d publicly and regularly emphasised his position on environmental issues and supported green energy initiatives.