We talked earlier this week about kids deciding they like a certain food because it has a picture of their favorite cartoon character pasted across the front of it. Now a group is threatening to sue McDonald's because of its Happy Meal toys. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says the toys encourage kids to adopt bad eating habits. The Center says the company should not be able to use a toy as a marketing campaign for food that is contributing to childhood obesity. What do you think? Are McDonald's Happy Meal toys illegal?
FROM NBC: McDonald's happy meal toys. -- kids and even some adults love 'em -- but now some say -- they're illegal! "Admittedly -- french fries, a hamburger and soda might not be the most nutritious meal choice for kids... but according to a food watchdog group -- handing out toys with this kind of lunch is also: "a pernicious, wrong and illegal marketing practice." Like a carrot in front of a rabbit -- the Center for Science in the Public Interest alleges that McDonald's dangles toys in front of kids' faces to tempt them into eating its happy meals. And the group says -- it'd be a healthier happy meal if those toys -were- carrots.
Michael Jacobson"The happy meals aren't terribly nutritious. they're typically too high in calories, too high in salt, and if you get a soft drink, way too high in sugar." Now -- the so-called "food police" has announced it will sue mcdonald's if it doesn't take the toys out of the bag. "There are state laws against unfair and deceptive advertising practices. and this is a classic example, where you're going to people who don't understand the intent of the ad."
Fries and a soda aren't the only options in happy meals. Kids can also choose sliced apples and low-fat milk as sides. And those healthier options are the only ones that feature the enticing images of cartoon characters and toys. In defense, McDonald's says the consumer group is misrepresenting the company's food and marketing practices.
Getting a toy with your hamburger, mcdonald's says, is just "part of a fun, family experience." But would children still be happy with their meals without the joy of a new toy? that'll be up to kids and possibly a judge. McDonald's has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit threat. The Center for Science in the Public Interest hopes McDonald's will agree to a compromise before this goes to court.
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