Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has come under fire after video footage emerged in which he says low-income parents should feed their children burgers from McDonald’s.
In the footage, Nehammer talks about poverty before complaining about how child hunger is dealt with in the press.
“So what does it mean that a child doesn’t get a hot meal in Austria? Do you know what the cheapest hot meal in Austria is? It’s not healthy, but it’s cheap: a hamburger at McDonald’s — €1.40, if I buy fries with it, €3.50. Now someone is seriously claiming that we live in a country where parents can’t afford this meal for their child,” he said.
“If I have too little money, I go to work more,” he added in the video, which was filmed during a wine-and-cheese event near Salzburg — with no burgers in sight — his conservative People’s Party confirmed to Plus24.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s Austria told POLITICO that although prices vary, it is possible to eat for as cheaply as Nehammer suggested.
The 250-calorie hamburger is the cheapest burger on the menu.
“From a common sense perspective, obviously it is the worst health advice that you could give to anybody and definitely to children,” Dorota Sienkiewicz, policy manager of EuroHealthNet, said. “Because children cannot really protect themselves from impacts of unhealthy food choices,” she added.
“In Austria, no one has to starve or freeze to death in winter. Because we drew a jackpot in the birthplace lottery,” Michael Landau, the president of Caritas Austria, which works to prevent poverty, said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “But anyone who says that no one in Austria goes hungry or freezes has no idea about the reality of the people,” he said of Nehammer’s comments.