Looks like Mickey D’s is about to undergo another round of public and media lashing now that childhood obesity is a major priority in Washington. As the Los Angeles Times reports, a watchdog group says giving away toys with Happy Meals contributes to childhood obesity and threatens to sue:
Weeks after a Silicon Valley county became the first in the nation to ban toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children, a public health watchdog group called on the fast food giant to remove the playthings from all its meal packages.
Citing toys aimed at promoting the latest “Shrek” movie, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the plastic promotions lure children into McDonald’s restaurants where they are then likely to order food that is too high in calories, fat and salt.
The organization on Tuesday served the fast food giant with a letter expressing its intent to sue if toys are not removed. The letter is legally required in several states, including California, before lawsuits can be brought under consumer protection statutes.
“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” Stephen Gardner, litigation director for the advocacy group said in a statement. “McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity.”
McDonald’s disagreed strongly with that characterization, saying that its meals were “right-sized for kids” and that it offered healthful choices. Toys, said spokesman William Whitman, are “just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s.”…
[continues in the Los Angeles Times]