The Center for Science in the Public Interest is preparing to sue the popular fast food chain, McDonald’s, under the pretense that they lure children in with Happy Meal toys. The Seattle-based consumer group claims McDonald’s uses toys to unfairly and deceptively draw children into unhealthy food choices.
The group has not filed suit yet, but hopes that the threat to sue will raise public awareness and convince McDonald’s to change their policies about marketing toys to children.
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Over the last five years, McDonald’s has undergone several menu changes in effort to appear more healthy, swapping out soda drinks with milk and fries with apple wedges. They also altered their original chicken nugget recipe to include only white meat chicken portions, which are considered healthier than dark meat.
In 2007, McDonald’s promised the public they would only advertise Happy Meals featuring healthier alternatives with less than 600 calories, but according to the consumer group, that’s not enough.
Personally, I rarely eat at McDonald’s anyway, and even when I do, my own child has long since outgrown Happy Meals. I do have a young niece though, and the commercials have her bouncing every time a new toy hits the market. How often her mom gives in out of convenience is hard to say, but with so many parents living fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyles, it does seem a little absurd to me to blame unhealthy eating habits and childhood obesity on McDonald’s. Instead, why not focus on healthy eating choices and awareness and target fast food corporations where it really hurts: their sales.