Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Definition of Exempt Foods

Nutrition information is listed per serving, unless otherwise noted. Guidelines apply to products approved for advertising to children under 12, unless otherwise noted.


All food and beverage menu items advertised to under 12s will be subject to a nutrient profile scoring model based on the one developed in the UK by the Food Standards Agency for use by the media and communications regulator, Ofcom. The model McDonald’s Europe will use is the one available on 1st November 2011 at the following link: McDonald’s Europe will use this model to ascertain whether a food or beverage product can or cannot be advertised. It is a “scoring system" where points are allocated on the nutritional content in 100g of a food or drink. The scoring model assesses levels of energy, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, protein, fibre and fruit & vegetable content. A food will not be advertised to children where it scores 4 points or more; a drink will not be advertised to children where it scores 1 point or more. For more details on the calculations and the allocation of points please see: All Happy Meal advertising aimed at children under the age of 12 that features food will include fruit or vegetables and drinks with only naturally occurring or no added sugar. Carbonated soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners will also be excluded from Happy Meal advertising.

EU Pledge (EU Pledge)

These criteria apply to advertising to children ages 6-11; there are no exempt foods for advertising to children under 6 years.

Group Calories/ Portion Size Limit Fats Sugars Sodium Nutrient Content/ Additional Guidelines
≤533 kcal or one third of a child’s Guideline Daily Amount for energy as defined at