Prince Charles suggested Tuesday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates that banning McDonald's fast food was crucial for improving people's diets, a British news agency reported.
Charles made the comments while visiting the Imperial College London Diabetes Center in Abu Dhabi for the launch of a public health campaign, The Press Association reported.
"Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key," Charles was quoted as asking one of the center's nutritionists.
A McDonald's spokesman, Nick Hindle, called the remark disappointing. He said other members of the royal family "have probably got a more up-to-date picture of us," alluding to reports that Charles' son, Prince Harry, was spotted eating a chicken burger at McDonald's in 2005.
"This appears to be an off-the-cuff remark, in our opinion," Hindle said. "It does not reflect our menu or where we are as a business."
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's Corp. took steps last year to display nutrition facts on its packaging and vary its menu to counter charges that its food is unhealthy and contributes to obesity. There are 25 McDonald's franchises in the United Arab Emirates.
Charles, who is first in line to the British throne, is an active advocate of organic food and in 1986 set up a farm on his Highgrove Estate that does not use artificial pesticides or fertilizers.
The prince was in the United Arab Emirates with his wife, Camilla, as part of a tour of Gulf countries.
The United Arab Emirates has the world's second highest number of diabetes cases per capita, with more than 20 percent of those aged 20 to 79 already diagnosed with the illness, while 40 percent of the population are at risk.