Just before I left Japan, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) rolled out new paper tray liners for customers who were eating in. The liner compared the calorie content for a number of meals from McDonald's with similar data for meals at other local establishments in Japan.

Using the tray liner, I could see that the caloric content of a cheeseburger, six-piece McNuggets, and a Coke wasn't that different from tonkatsu (fried pork) with rice and soup, or a bowl of gyudon (seasoned ground beef with onions on rice). The placemats also included caloric data on some healthier options, such as a salad with grilled chicken breast. The company may have done the same in the U.S. -- I've yet to dine in a McDonald's since returning -- but my point is that the information was helpful and transparent to customers.

Today, McDonald's announced that it's going a step further by including nutritional information on the packaging of most of its food items, starting in the first half of 2006. The company stated that the updated packaging will provide information on the fat, carbohydrate, protein, and sodium content of each food item. This doesn't change how healthy or unhealthy McDonald's food is, but it does mean that we'll all know just how guilty we should feel after eating that double Quarter Pounder With Cheese and fries. The onus will be on fast-food competitors like Wendy's International (NYSE:WEN) and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) to provide similar nutritional information on their burgers, fried chicken, and tacos. Let's hope they do.

Also making news today for McDonald's is its 92%-owned subsidiary, Chipotle Mexican Grill, which this morning filed its S-1 registration statement with the SEC, thus taking its IPO plans one step closer to reality. One of Chipotle's 454 restaurants is located about a block away from Fool HQ, and a number of Fools have been paying close attention to the restaurant, and enjoying its burritos, for a long time now. Chipotle's business is an interesting one; though there aren't that many ingredients to choose from, you can mix and match them any way you want. In addition, I'm guessing that the company's production-line method of preparing food is very cost-effective.

In the filing, Chipotle states that it hopes to raise a maximum of $100 million. Some of these proceeds will go to McDonald's as it sells shares, but there should be enough left over to help Chipotle expand while paying off some of its debt and bills. Regardless of the efficiency of its production line, however, investors should treat Chipotle's IPO like any other -- with a healthy dose of skepticism and caution. That said, I'm off to go read the registration statement myself. Fool on!

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Nathan Parmalee has no financial stake in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.