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Doris Lin

McDonald's Sued over Happy Meals

By December 23, 2010

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McDonald's Happy Meal

The Center For Science in the Public Interest has filed a class action lawsuit against McDonald's, claiming that the toys in their Happy Meals act as "bait" to get children to demand the unhealthy fare. The named plaintiff is a mother of two in Sacramento, CA, Monet Parham, whose six-year-old asks to go to McDonald's mainly for the toys. Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first town in the U.S. to ban promotional toys that are served with unhealthy meals, effectively banning Happy Meals.

A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit where there are too many plaintiffs to name them all and multiple lawsuits would be impractical. The lawsuit against McDonald's over their non-vegetarian french fries was a class action lawsuit. CSPI filed the lawsuit only after McDonald's refused to meet with them. They are demanding that McDonald's stop using toys to market their food to children.

What does McDonald's have to say about the lawsuit? "We are proud of our Happy Meals . . . " Blah blah blah.

We all know that McDonald's food is not healthy, and that the toys bring children in. But how is that illegal? CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner explains:

Every time McDonald's markets a Happy Meal directly to a young child, it exploits a child's developmental vulnerability and violates several states' consumer protection laws, including the California Unfair Competition Law.

Quite a few experts agree that the toy ploy takes advantage of impressionable young minds, but whether it's illegal is another story. I don't want to guess how the court will go, but I hope CSPI wins this lawsuit - for the sake of children and animals everywhere.

David Paul Morris / Getty Images

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December 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm
(1) S. Smith says:

The opinion that McDonald’s should lose this suit is ridiculous. This is a free country..not nearly as free as it once was and way down the list of free countries, but nonetheless, we still live in a free market system. I teach children and understand the viewpoint, but my biggest issue is why aren’t expected have any responsibility as the guardians and protectors of the child? Do they see McDonald’s and are incapable of saying, “No, we are not eating at McDonald’s.” I did and it’s unfortunate if parents actually think it’s McDonald’s fault that they can’t tell their own children “No.”

December 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm
(2) S. Smith says:

meant to say “why aren’t parents expected…”

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