McDonald's sued over Happy Meals
The lawsuit by a consumer group alleges that toys bait children to eat junk food.
As it threatened in June, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed suit against McDonald's, charging that its Happy Meals use cheap toys as "bait" to lure children into gorging on "unhealthy junk food."
The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in California on behalf of Monet Parham, a Sacramento mother who said the Happy Meals make it "so much harder" for her to say no when her children beg her to take them to McDonald's.
If Parham lived in San Francisco, CSPI would have had to find another plaintiff. That city's Board of Supervisors voted last month to limit toy giveaways in children's meals deemed to have excessive calories, sodium and fat. Santa Clara County did likewise.
When the Santa Clara County ordinance was passed, county supervisor Ken Yeager told the Los Angeles Times that it "prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys."
CSPI founder Michael Jacobson, who claims to have invented the phrases "empty calories" and "junk food," said "multibillion-dollar corporations make parents' job nearly impossible by giving away toys and bombarding kids with slick advertising."
The group in June went so far as to compare McDonald's with a child molester in a statement. "McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children," CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner said. "It's a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction."
McDonald's responded that parents have the primary responsibility for policing their children's diet and said that it has steadily added more nutritionally worthwhile foods to its menu.
"McDonald's is committed to a responsible approach to our menu, and our Happy Meal offerings. We have added more choice and variety than ever before, a fact that has been widely reported and recognized," the company said.
But CSPI begs to differ.
The nonprofit, Washington-based group says that while Happy Meals advertising shows "glimpses of healthier products, such as Apple Dippers and low-fat milk, the default options put into Happy Meals by McDonald's employees are usually french fries and sugary sodas."
This isn't the first time that McDonald's has faced a nutrition-related lawsuit. In 2005, the company settled a suit concerning its use of trans fats, agreeing to pay $7 million to the American Heart Association and another $1.5 million for a public advertising campaign alerting the public to the dangers of those fats.
In 2008, the company announced that it had begun cooking its fries and other items with a new, zero-trans-fat oil.
More from ConsumerAffairs.com:
You have to be kidding me, She cant say no. Maybe she shouldn't be a Mom. Those kids are learning a great lesson, its always someone else fault!
Mom....can we smoke crack today...please, please please!!!!
Parents not children are responsible for the purchase of a happy meal in a vast majority of cases. Essentialy these people are suing McDonald's for engaging in practices that millions of businesses do...and it's called advertising.
I have seen tactics in advertising that were downright predatory and McDonald's advertising is nothing of the sort in even an unreasonable stretch of the imagination.
This lawsuit is about a few parents who skirt their responsibilities as parents and want to blame someone else for their failure to parent. It is also about making a lawyer some money.
It sounds like there are some parents that need to get some guts and be parents. Two of three of my kids are champion whiners but we don't go to McDonald's or any other place unless I say so. I don't respond to their whining because responding to their whining is the perfect way to get them to whine some more!
I want to know...who first took her child to McDonald's? Who allowed the child to watch the television with the commercial for the dang Happy Meal? I had no idea that McDonald's was so uber powerful that they could make her do those things so her child would be addicted to HAPPY MEALS! I really wonder who she will blame when she can't say no to drugs, sex and rock n roll when the child is a teenager!
Here I will help her out:
Happy Meal at Home
Take chicken breast and cut into small chunks
Roll in crushed cereal (such as frosted flakes or corn flakes)
Sprinkle with seasoning
Bake until golden brown and chicken is cooked throughout
Take sweet potato
cut into shoe string fry
roll/toss in olive oil
sprinkle with cinnamon
bake till crispy on outside and soft inside
Add a glass of fat free milk
a coloring book
Serve to child while still warm from oven, with catsup or some other fat free dipping sauce and a BIG OLD SIDE DISH OF ATTENTION AND PARENTING!
Of course it's hard to say no. But you do it anyway, because it's your job.
These people know that you can get the toy alone without a food purchase, right?
This is really outrageous - It is articles like this that are very upsetting to read. Kids need to learn they cannot always get their way and parents need to stand their ground and not give in. Sueing the restaurant is not the answer.
What is obsurd is how the article mentions how McDonalds now has healthier options but that is not what they put in a default happy meal but thats not good enough. How can you be upset about that - at least they are offering a healthy alternative. The business is really looking out for their profit and honestly fries and pop are cheaper than apples and milk.
Parents are aware there are healthier choices - so order kids the better option instead of blaming the company for feeding your kids unhealthy food.
If parents really upset about the food served they wouldnt bring kids to fast food and just cook at home
Maybe if she stopped being such a dummy and put more effort into parenting than there wouldn't be such a high obesity rate in children.
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