Happy Meals in the Crosshairs
by Michael Kleen
Back in November 2010, the City of San Francisco effectively banned Happy Meals by requiring any meals that included toys to meet strict nutritional guidelines. The ordinance was criticized and lampooned by many, including the Daily Show. Now, the self-appointed protectors of consumer health are at it again. This time, Monet Parham, a mother of two who is represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is suing McDonald’s for allegedly violating California consumer protection laws by including toys with their Happy Meals. With one victory under their belts, it seems that these so-called “consumer advocates” have redoubled their efforts to control what we can buy at the lunch counter.
Read some of the articles about McDonald’s battle with the Center for Science in the Public Interest and you may come away with the impression that the restaurant chain is like the witch in the story of Hansel and Gretel, tempting children into their restaurants and fattening them up for a life afflicted by diabetes and heart disease. In a recent article at Salon.com, Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote, “The practice of luring families to make suspect choices based on convenience, the promise of a new plastic animal, youthful whining, and parental guilt is so deeply embedded in our culture, so much a part of childhood, that the idea it could ever change seems almost unfathomable.” [Emphasis added]
Posted on April 26, 2011, in Columns and tagged Center for Science in the Public Interest, consumer protection, Happy Meals, Laws, obesity, Regulation, San Francisco. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.