California mom sues McDonald's over Happy Meals

Jodi - posted on 12/15/2010 ( 502 moms have responded )

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A mother-of-two from California launched a class-action lawsuit against McDonald's, claiming the toys given out with Happy Meals unfairly lure kids into eating unhealthy food.

Monet Parham is spearheading the suit backed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), aimed at stopping the fast-food giant's use of toys in marketing aimed directly at small children.

The CSPI says such marketing illegally exploits children. Parham says the main reason her six-year-old daughter, Maya, asks to go to McDonald's is to get toys based on Barbie, i-Carly, Shrek, or Strawberry Shortcake.

"I am concerned about the health of my children and feel that McDonald's should be a very limited part of their diet and their childhood experience," said Parham, from Sacramento.

"But as other busy, working moms and dads know, we have to say 'no' to our young children so many times, and McDonald's makes that so much harder to do.

"I object to the fact that McDonald's is getting into my kids' heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat."

The CSPI cited the Institute of Medicine and the American Psychological Association as saying that "kids as young as Maya do not have the cognitive maturity to understand the persuasive intent of advertising."

"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," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner.

McDonald's said it would defend itself against the lawsuit, which Parham and the CSPI said they were filing in the California Superior Court in San Francisco.

"We are proud of our Happy Meals and intend to vigorously defend our brand," spokeswoman Bridget Coffing told the LA Times newspaper, adding that Happy Meals offer quality foods in smaller portions appropriate for children.

"We are confident that parents understand and appreciate that Happy Meals are a fun treat, with quality, right-sized food choices for their children that can fit into a balanced diet," she added.

The action came after San Francisco last month agreed to ban promotional toys served with food that doesn't meet strict nutritional standards, following a similar move in nearby Santa Clarita in April.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/-/world...

Thoughts? Do you REALLY think we should blame the toys? Or should we be blaming the parents who don't say no? Do we need to be more responsible for our choices as parents? What is your take on this lawsuit?

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502 Comments

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[deleted account]

ok you win.....let macdonalds keep selling crap food and manipulating the truth in their favor brainwashing the weak minded and poisoning our bodies... that way everyone can die before their time....and yes one burger COULD cause a heart attack.

[deleted account]

Well if people were not LYING to them saying it was good.......my god...everyone still thinks "in moderation a heart attack in a bun is alright" its ok once in a while.......agh....its enough to make me want to flip right out

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Adults know that the food is bad(well most), however parents don't want to be the bad guy's and say no-so now society needs to blame someone/something, Its just crap.

[deleted account]

If in order to get the safety label you had to call a number on the back of the product, that is in super small print wait 35 mins on the phone. Then get the label emailed to you after harassing the rep for it who wouldnt even admit it existed at first.Would it be your fault if you didnt see the number in the first place or even know the label existed?

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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McD's isn't lying I believe their nutritional facts are even on the boxes (not sure about the burger wrappings though). My entire point is the information is there for people.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Nope the fees are on the application they fill out, not hidden, they are right there. Just like the nutritional facts are on the wall in McD's.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Its like a safety label if I chose to ignore it, I'm the wrong one NOT the manufacture

[deleted account]

Its not given to them is the point. The information is withheld until asked by the client. That is why they are called HIDDEN fees. If they don't know the fees exist. Why would they ask????

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Why is it wrong? They have the information its no ones fault but their own that they don't use it!!!

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Thats my point they have the information, they are chosing not to use it. The menu's are available, just like the fees are available to see...education is power

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Anybody that works, works for a company that does it, all the information people need is right in front of them-they are choosing not read it, how is that any body's problem/fault but their own?

[deleted account]

Well if the regulations were stricter, you would need to inform the customer of the fees and interest rates right from the get go. Since its not regulated, you dont need to.Thus leading a customer on through under informing.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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It has nothing to do with regulation, they have the materials to read they chose not to, again knowledge is power.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Personally they may not effect you or me, but they can effect jobs in lots of ways. I just don't see why we need to change any regulations, if we don't want to be exposed to media don't watch it-its that simple.

[deleted account]

So basically because your industry is loosely regulated, you don't give proper information to allow the customer to make an educated decision without them initiating it? The same thing we are saying macdonalds does every day?

[deleted account]

She is not trying to make us communists....just attacking media regulations, the rules would not effect us, just the fast food industry.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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Actually I only answer their questions, I ask them if they want to save 15% and open a card, IF and only IF they ask will I let them know the fees, knowledge is power. If i ask McD's for a nutritional menu they will give me one, hence the reason we need to invest money on educational materials not "stupid" court cases.

[deleted account]

Well i dont eat macdonalds, i have a bmi of 23.5 which is average. I'm not blaming anyone for mistakes i have made, because I am not part of the problem i am part of the solution. IF i were saying all of this, then going and scarfing down 8 bigmacs while my ass was falling off the seat....then i would be putting blame on someone else. I am saying this from an outsiders point of view.

[deleted account]

You tell them the truth though. THAT is the difference. Do you say, heres free money, no interest, pay back whenever. Yet have secret fees and a deadline to return the funds.?

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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everyone seems to alway point the blame away from them selves, its always someone elses fault.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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By no means will this be a baby step, this will be a huge step in the direction of some government ruling getting more into our lives.

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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I disagree...humanity has allowed them to damage our health as a nation. For example...in my job I am responsible for trying to get people to open credit cards, if they open one and go into debt, I nor the credit card company is to blame, neither one of us forced them to open it or use it. The corporations are not to blame, the people that lack the sense to make the right choice are to blame. Life is about choices and as humans it is our duty to educate ourselfs before making a choice.

[deleted account]

I for one do not want the government having any more say over what i do then anyone else. Possibly even less then you would like. I do think that large corporations should be remanded for their crimes against humanity. Ads, lies and propaganda have allowed them to damage our health as a nation. We need this to stop so we can recover from the obesity and poor lifestyle.





edit* this court case brings the issues to the public eye, that way the educational classes, books, and nutritional info people hand out will be accepted. Baby steps...

Julie - posted on 12/18/2010

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I understand that its not healthy...but no one is forcing anyone to eat it. The same unhealthy food are in any grocery store, gas station, restaurant....the list goes on...why don't we spend the money not on court cases but maybe an educational class, book, article for parents to learn to be parents...I don't think we should allow the government in our lives like this...

[deleted account]

macdonalds has "healthier alternatives" that are no better then the burgers and fries....yet people believe if they go to macdonalds and order a salad...that its healthy. why? because of ads.

[deleted account]

"I just think it's really ridiculous (lord i've been saying that too much) for people to think that major corporations are out to make people want their food and try to trick people into thinking it's healthy. "

Then why advertise at all? Why pay for a commercial if you aren't trying to make people go buy your food? And since healthy eating is a current trend, why wouldn't they want to make people think their food is healthy?

[deleted account]

Its not a question on moderation...and if you look up the ingredients in the meals.....thats why we can say its bad.

Lacye - posted on 12/18/2010

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I'm not trying to get anything for a team. I just think it's really ridiculous (lord i've been saying that too much) for people to think that major corporations are out to make people want their food and try to trick people into thinking it's healthy.

Sara, yes they do but they aren't going to do it in a reality show for one frame and it's only the logo. They usually show the logo for at least a few seconds to make it be seen to make people want it. not just flash it.

Amie - posted on 12/18/2010

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*** MOD warning ***

Posts have been deleted. Personal attacks are not allowed. Stick to the topics ladies.

Amie
~DM mod

[deleted account]

Actually Lacye, companies pay big bucks to have their logo or product in a movie or tv show...even for a second.

[deleted account]

hunger is a natural bodily function. What they are doing, is subconsciously planting seeds to make us want food that is bad for us. Not a conspiracy, marketing gimmicks.

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