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Burger King removes soft drinks from kids’ menu but in U.S. only

This Wednesday, June 20, 2012 file photo shows a burger and fries at a Burger King in Texas.
This Wednesday, June 20, 2012 file photo shows a burger and fries at a Burger King in Texas. AP Photo/LM Otero, File

TORONTO – While milk and apple juice are now the default drink options for Burger King’s kids’ menu in the United States, sugary soft drinks are still on tap for Canadian customers.

On Tuesday, U.S. media reported that the fast food giant quietly pulled calorie-laden pop from its kids’ menu – a move that follows in the footsteps of Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Subway and other chains.

But the measure hasn’t made its way across the border. Burger King Canada says that soft drinks are still on hand as options for kids.

READ MORE: Here are the 19 ingredients that go into McDonald’s French fries

“Burger King in the U.S. has changed the drink that comes in the kids meal from a soft drink to milk. Customers will have the option to choose a soft drink for no additional charge,” a spokesperson said in an email to Global News.

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U.S. reports say that milk and 100 per cent juice are now on display.

“In Canada, Burger King customers ordering a kids meal have the option of choosing milk, chocolate milk, apple or orange juice, or a soft drink. They also have the option of substituting fries with Mott’s Fruitsations apple sauce or a salad,” the email read.

Fast food chains are dealing with pressure from health-conscious parents who are trying to cut the calories, fat and sugar.

READ MORE: Wendy’s drops soda from kids’ menu in Canada, U.S.

In January, Wendy’s said it would drop soda from its kids menus in the U.S., a measure that’s already been in place in Canada for several years.

McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s and Chipotle phased out sugary pop from their offerings to kids. The move comes after pressure from health advocacy groups that circulated petitions.

Now, when parents head to the Wendy’s drive-thru or head inside the restaurant, soda won’t be listed as an option on the menu for kids’ combos. Reports suggest they won’t be refused if they still order pop for their kids, though.

READ MORE: How fast food tried to get svelte in 2014

“For quite some time, we have been displaying imagery of healthful beverage options, including milk, juice and water, whenever we feature our Kids’ Meal offerings on our menu boards, point-of-purchase materials and online properties,” Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini told Global News in an email.

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“We took the additional step of removing carbonated soft drinks from the Kids’ Meal listing on our menu boards, inside our restaurants, and at our pick-up windows,” he explained.

Now drink options include one per cent white or chocolate milk, bottled water and juice.

READ MORE: McDonald’s promising antibiotic-free chicken in the U.S., but not in Canada

Last week, McDonald’s says it’s planning on using antibiotic-free chicken and milk from cows that aren’t treated with artificial growth hormones in the U.S., but the new measures aren’t being implemented in Canada.

McDonald’s Canada says that’s because Canada has its own sourcing and supply chain. So far, it’s “made no decision at this time to change our current approach with chicken.”

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca