Okay, sorry I put that song in your head.

This NYT story is interesting: Apparently McDonald’s entrance into the fresh fruit and veggie market — driven by pressure to offer healthier options, salads and such — has made it, almost overnight, one of the biggest players in the $80 billion American produce industry.

Two bits from the story, one funny, one significant:The funny bit:

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Mr. Donahue conceded that the Shaker salads “did not resonate with customers” in part because customers did not like the idea of eating salad from a plastic cup.

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The significant bit, tucked away (sigh) at the very end of the story:

Other advocacy groups said that they were hopeful that McDonald’s would one day use its power not only to get better prices and greater supply, but also to change the way the produce industry operates – for the better. Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, an advocacy group based in Little Marais, Minn., said he would like to see McDonald’s buy some organic products, which he believes are more healthful for consumers.

In a 2003 report on pesticides in produce, the Environmental Working Group, a public-policy outfit based in Washington, ranked apples as the third-most-contaminated produce group, after peaches and strawberries, in terms of pesticide residue. The findings were based on tests done by the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration from 1992 to 2001.

“McDonald’s could have a huge impact,” Mr. Cummins said. “They could be the company that changes agriculture toward a more organic and sustainable model.” It may sound far-fetched, but from a company that’s come a long way from the days of selling mainly hamburgers and fries, anything is possible.

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