Angeles Times recently reported that the Center for Science in the Public
Interest (CSPI) is planning to sue fast-food giant McDonald's if the company
does not comply with its demands to remove toys from "Happy Meals".
CSPI claims that marketing unhealthy food with toys is contributing to the
childhood obesity epidemic and should be stopped immediately.
announcement by CSPI comes just weeks after a California county banned not
only toys but all other promotions aimed at children that involve McDonald's
Happy Meals. By doing this, the county believes that children will be less
attracted to fatty foods that are high in salt and calories.
to the same article, back in April, Santa Clara County, California, also
banned toy promotions from fast food meals sold in unincorporated parts
of the county.
from McDonald's denied that Happy Meals are inherently unhealthy, citing
the fact that the meals are of an appropriate size and that children have
the option to swap out the fries and soda for apples and juice. They also
explained that giving away toys with children's meals is part of the fun
of a family dining experience.
2008 when apples were first introduced as an option in Happy Meals, customers
have ordered them more than 100 million times, illustrating that when given
healthier options, customers often choose them for their children instead.
But those opposed to the toys insist that including them in Happy Meals
is contributing directly to the obesity epidemic because it makes the generally
unhealthy meals highly attractive to children who do not know any better.
And while acknowledging that parents ultimately bear the responsibility
of controlling their children's food choices, CSPI believes that using toys
to lure kids into McDonald's is so powerful and "predatory" as
a form of marketing that parents often have a difficult time resisting their
others say that placing heavy restrictions on what McDonald's can include
in Happy Meals may be a bit severe and overbearing, and that it will do
little to effectively reverse the nation's obesity epidemic.
are even suggesting a compromise in which McDonald's limit its new toy offerings
to once a month rather than once a week, in order to reduce the number of
times children want to go to McDonald's to get a new toy.
A. Huff, staff writer
for this story include: