Consumer Group to Sue Over Happy Meal Toys

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yes, it has come to this.

A D. C. watchdog group will sue McDonald’s if the fast-food chain continues to use toys to promote Happy Meals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says using toys to lure small children into McDonald’s is “unfair and deceptive marketing” and is “illegal under various state consumer protection laws.”CSPI today said in a press release that they served McDonald’s a “notice of its intent to sue, fulfilling a legal requirement of several states in which CSPI might bring the lawsuit.”

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” said CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner in the release, who said McDonald’s “undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity-all this to induce children to prefer foods that may harm their health. It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson called the practice of Happy Meal toys “inherently deceptive”  saying that “Parents do bear much of the responsibility, but multi-billion-dollar corporations make parents’ job nearly impossible by giving away toys and bombarding kids with slick advertising.”

Certainly, there are valid concerns about kids eating too many French Fries and soda drinks. But public concerns over these issues need to be between parents, watchdog groups and companies, and should not involve the courts.

Good earth. Are bans or lawsuits concerning candy and ice cream next?


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. Maybe instead of suing McDonalds we should have social services put the kids of those unresponsible parents in a foster home. Why punish all of us that have control over our diets because of those that don’t? It’s the parents fault, not McDonalds. In fact, I haven’t even seen a Happy Meal commercial on TV so the only way the kids are getting exposed to McDonalds marketing is by actually taking them there. I’m calling money grubbing BS on this one.

  2. What about the friendly store owner, who gives free candy to the kids of his/her customers? The displacement of responsibility seems to know no limit.

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