Prince Charles has suggested on a visit to the UAE that McDonald's fast food should be banned.
His comments come amid increasing concern over the obesity and diabetes crisis that is brewing in the Middle East.
Ironically, the Prince of Wales' comments were made while visiting the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi for the launch of a public health campaign.
"Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key," the prince said to a nutritionist at the centre.
The GCC countries have the worst record in the world for diabetes. According to The International Diabetes Federation in 2003, the top five countries with the highest percentage of adults with diabetes were Nauru (30.2%), UAE (20.1%), Qatar (16%), Bahrain (14.9%), and Kuwait (12.8%).
Obesity and inherited predisposition are the major causes or diabetes - and both factors appear to be at epidemic proportions in the Middle East.
In Bahrain, 83% of women are obese or overweight according to a 2005 report by the International Obesity Task Force, a London-based think tank. In the United Arab Emirates, the figure is 74%; in Lebanon it is 75%.
McDonald's response to the Prince of Wales was very much 'we are not amused'. It said in a statement that the heir to the British throne was unfamiliar with its recent efforts to introduce healthier fare.
"The comment made by the Prince of Wales appears to be an off-the-cuff remark that, in our opinion, does not reflect either our menu or where we are at as a business," Nick Hindle, a spokesman for McDonald's UK business, said in an e-mailed statement.
A spokesman for Prince Charles said "he was keen to emphasise the need for children to enjoy the widest variety of food and not to eat any particular sort of food to excess."
Prince Charles has long been an advocate of organic food, running an organic farm on his home estate. Late last year, he published a cookbook in which he aimed to rebel against what he called the "soulless, mass-produced food that had come to dominate the modern diet."
But McDonald's said the future king was "clearly unaware of some of the moves we have made over time to improve choice and variety on our menu ... including the introduction of fruit, carrot sticks, salads and organic milk."
The hamburger chain added that it has "made great progress in support of sustainable agriculture."
McDonald's has 42 restaurants in the UAE, 83 in Saudi Arabia, and 46 in Kuwait.