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McDonald's Is Being Sued Over Happy Meals

The_McDonalds_at_Guantanamo Is nothing sacred any more?  Now they want to take away our Happy Meals? (To be honest I'm a vegetarian and my child has maybe been to McDonald's, like twice, in his life, so I have no vested interest in the Happy Meal.)

The Washington, DC based Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening to sue McDonald's if they do not take toys out of Happy Meals.  The claim is that the toy is making your child fat. "McDonald's marketing has the effect of conscripting America's children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald's," CSPI's Stephen Gardner wrote to the heads of the chain in a letter announcing the lawsuit.

(My child have never asked to go to McDonald's.  He's 5.)


The Center has filed lawsuits against fast food companies in the past, and is hoping the threat of a lawsuit and the publicity will be enough to make McDonald's change their ways.  The group is hoping its first lawsuit against the McDonald's will have a similar effect as its 2006 lawsuit against Kellogg that prompted the company to agree to a settlement raising the nutritional value of cereals and snacks it markets to children.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, says it's the parents' responsibility also, but he equates the toy giveaways to a door-to-door salesman coming to a family's house every day and asking to privately speak with the children. "At some point parents get worn down," Jacobson says. "They don't always want to be saying no to their children. We feel like an awful lot of parents would be relieved if this one pressure was removed from them."

I don't know about this one.  We eat pretty healthy in my house, almost all organic and I eat no meat.  We watch things like HFCS and food dyes and I've read a crazy amount of books on food and health and what not.  But I'm not insane.  I'm not the parent that refuses to let their child have cake at a birthday party. 

I also agree it is the parents responsibility to monitor what their children eat.  I also believe that everything in moderation is ok.  Are Happy Meals all the time good?  No.  But will one every once in a while kill a child?  No.

Also, do we have to suck ALL THE FUN OUT OF CHILDHOOD?

But, child obesity=bad.


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I think the CSPI is wasting it's time and should focus on gym class or school lunches or cancer or something.. Seriously if they suck at being parents and feel the pressure of a toy in a fast food joint is too much for many to carry, then they have NO FRIGGIN LIFE. I also suggest they stay out of mine, it's a treat. Those who can't tell their kids no deserve fat lazy kids, but don't worry the weight will fall off those kids when the crack dealer offers them some. since they have never been told before why start ? PULEEZE people parent your children or get sterilized.


Well, the Peachy1 puts forth his/her/it's? point in crude form, but I do agree that this speaks to wimpy parenting colliding with crappy food choices.

cagey (Kelli Oliver George)

I totally smell a Deep Pockets Lawsuit here, how bogus.

We do go to McD's for the occasional cheeseburger. Sue me, but I love their cheeseburgers. However, we buy the toy separately. Yes, separately. My kids would never eat an entire happy meal and it is way too much food and the so-called apples are nasty and chocolate milk is NOT healthy and we have regular milk at home.

So yes, they each get a cheeseburger and a toy and a water (in a cup, because I just that cheap) Everyone is happy.

And if it is a good toy - like the Wizard of Oz sets, Polly Pockets or Barbies? We go through and just buy the toys.



We do McDonald's once a month. Unless we're on vacation and my mom breaks her foot. Then it's a little more often because she put off grocery shopping until we arrived and then it was too late ;)

But my kids might ask for McDonald's, but they know that they're only going to get it if Mommy and Daddy say yes.

The problem isn't the toys or the food. Its the parents who don't want to upset their special snowflake child and tell them no.


So, essentially McD's is selling bad food, branded with licensed characters or whatever. Have you BEEN to a grocery store lately? Have you seen the "froot snaks" that are just flavored HFCS molded into creepy shapes, in packaging covered with the characters? Sugary cereal? Lord knows what else? If you're going to start suing people for getting kids to eat bad food by using licensed characters, you've got a lot of suing to do.

Do they still put toys in cereal boxes, or crackerjack boxes? This kind of thing goes WAY back, and cannot be blamed for the latest surge in childhood obesity.


I enjoyed the occasional McDonald's when I was a kid. I played in the playground, I even had McDonald's bedsheets. But I don't think I ever *requested* we go there for a meal. Restaurant choice was simply never child-directed in my family. We never got the Happy Meal anyway because of the extra expense (and I didn't like fries or soda).

Where were the lawsuits when people were buying Happy Meals just to get the Beanie Babies and then *throwing away the food*? That whole scene made me sick.

Because of my happy memories, I would probably take my kid to a McDonald's in a pinch, especially now that I hear they're sourcing meat from New Zealand. Less Mad Cow and e Coli! If it's domestic meat, though, we'll still stay away because I am paranoid and feel bad about most American cows.


Parents need to be able to tell their kids no when they whine for unhealthy food for the sake of a toy. I don't think I ever cared about what toy they were offering at McD's as a kid, though.

On the flip side of that, if we are in a time crunch and out of the house, NOT putting a toy in a happy meal isn't going to stop me from buying it for my kid once in awhile.

What a colossal waste of time.


Peachy1 is right on with the suggestion to concentrate on school lunches. I'd rather see more attention directed there. McDonald's is a choice, but a lot of kids at my son's school receive a free lunch. Not much choice involved there. If your family needs that assistance then that's what you're eating. I love the idea of trying to bring in more fresh and local foods, and that's not happening in our district.

Suzy Q

Like incognito, restaurant choice was never child-directed for me either. Also, I'm not sure Happy Meals even existed when I was a kid. Am old. And I eat a Big Mac once in awhile.


Well, if a parent has to tell their child "no" and it makes them feel bad to do so, then clearly a lawsuit is in order. Gah. This whole Don't Let Anyone Feel Bad/Sad/Disappointed Ever mentality is what is destroying our culture.
Seriously, grow a pair and tell a kid no. It will be SO much better for him in the long run, and not just in the realm of fast food.


We're a Burger King family, when we do eat fast food. Which is maybe five times a year, when we're traveling. Mainly because I can eat gluten free there.

I taught my kids early on that McDonald's food tastes like ass. They had already cultivated a taste for the BK fries, and when we got free coupons for McD's I took them there, let them try the french fries, and they said loudly, "I like BURGER KING'S fries better." Hah.

The toys are not making kids fat. Crappy processed food, a lack of recess and outdoor play, and too many damn video games are making kids fat. Oh, and lazy parents.

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