Kosher Controversy at the London 2012 Olympics

McDonald's refused to provide kosher food stands and the Olympic ‘food vision’ does not provide for kosher meals. So where can one grab a bite to eat?

If you are lucky enough to have snagged a ticket to the Olympic games, you’ll likely see McDonald’s everywhere. The company is a major sponsor of the games and is providing 20 percent of the food served at them. But if you keep kosher, you’ll have to keep walking.

More than three years ago, the Jewish Committee for the London Games set up to coordinate U.K. Jewish community activity at the Olympics, called for kosher food stands to be provided by McDonald’s — given their experience with a “large number of outlets in Israel, a considerable number of which are kosher.” McDonald’s resisted plans for any special Olympic provisions.

In spite of this, and the reams of the Committee’s strictures dictating everything from use of the words “Summer 2012” to who can sell French fries (only McDonald’s), the Olympic organizing committee is striving to promote this year’s games as all-inclusive. In 2008 they established a faith reference group, with representatives from the nine religions in the U.K. Interfaith Network. The aim was to “advise on issues around faith in order to cater to the observations of practicing athletes, spectators and officials.”

The JCLG played a role in 18 months of research, analysis and consultation from which emerged the Olympic “food vision,” a working document “celebrate the diversity” of the U.K.’s cultures and cuisines via the anticipated 14 million meals that will be served in the Olympic Park and Village this month.

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