Public Interest Group Says It Will Sue McDonald’s; Claims Happy Meals are Illegal in Four States, Including New Jersey and California

Jun 22, 2010  •  Post A Comment

When was it, last night or the night before? You were sitting around with your best friend and one of you said, "My God, what’s next? Are they going to outlaw Happy Meals?"

Well, read on…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says it will sue McDonald’s, claiming it cannot include toys with its Happy Meals, reports ABC News.

Many of the toys are entertainment industry tie-ins.

According to the report, "The Center for Science in the Public Interest announced Tuesday that it will file a lawsuit against McDonald’s, calling the practice of marketing toys with junk food "illegal" under consumer protection laws in Massachusetts, Texas , the District of Columbia, New Jersey and California."

Michael Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, told ABC: "Dangling a toy in front of a kid to try to get them into your restaurant is unfair and deceptive, because it’s targeted at kids who are what? Four years old? Six years old? Who don’t even understand the concept of advertising."

A McDonald’s spokesperson told ABC in an email: "We couldn’t disagree more with the misrepresentation of our food and marketing practices made by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Since 2006, we have been a part of the Council for Better Business Bureau’s voluntary initiative to address the importance of children’s well-being." 


  1. Let’s see… McDonald’s has been in business for 70 years selling high fat, high carb, highly processed foods to children…
    and they’ve been interested in “the importance of children’s well-being” for 4 years.

  2. I’m not saying McD’s makes a well-rounded meal, or is subtle in it’s promotions. Some menu items from McD’s are junk food, yes. But McD’s hamburgers, while not the healthiest choice for food, is not junk food. M$M’s is junk food. Coke is junk food. But a hamburger isn’t.
    SCPI have produced some junk litigation. Creating obesity in lawyer’s bank accounts.

  3. Who cares if McD’s is marketing to kids? Ultimately, who makes the decision whether to eat there? The parent(s). As one, I’m not susceptible to toys as bait. So, market on, you juggernaut. I’ll take my kid there ocassionally. Toy or no toy, he loves the Chicken McNuggets. I’ll have a (very slightly healthier) salad. SCPI, I can figure some things out for myself; I don’t need you parenting for me!

  4. I am starting to sound like the comic Louis Black. I want someone to live my life for me. I’m tired of having to make all the darn decisions. Life is so complex. I no longer want the responsibility or the hassles so I’m going to start a fan page on Facebook for all the people out there who can’t figure out what to eat what to watch or play with or drink or smoke or wear. I want an organization to protect me from myself cause all I want to do is smoke and drink and eat pizza and fries that come with things that make me want to go to movies and buy more stuff that will poison me against myself and people who start groups that sue.

  5. The do-gooder-snoopy-snitches have gone too far this time. What next? Outlaw popcorn in movie theaters? Prohibit material on cable/satellite TV that might offend some religious cleric in Iran? Prohibit freedom of choice as to our bodies or marriage partners? Make it illegal to show G and R rated movies in the same theater complex? Serious punishment for wannabe do-gooders who file frivolous lawsuits?

  6. What I’d like to know is just what all this has to with science… particularly science in the public interest?
    Who set these people up as arbiters for the public interest?
    I don’t find it to be in my best interest (or that of my child) to have such decisions assumed by another, based on the absurd proposition that these self-proclaimed “experts” of the public interest know better than I.
    They may have degrees (well guess what… so do I) but that does not make them any smarter or better than I, or any other American

  7. Why is it just McDonalds they are targeting? If I’m not mistaken.. at some time or another Burger King, Carls Jr., Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and yes, even Subway! have all had a part in having toys from movies in their kids meals.
    The last three movies for Burger King have been Iron Man 2, Marmaduke and now, items from the new Twilight Movie.
    It’s not just movies.. NASCAR.. NINTENDO.. BARBIE.. NBA.. HOT WHEELS.. DC COMICS.. MARVEL.. and NICKELODEON have all played a part in having toys in the same meals.
    I am a parent of a 4 year old boy and while he does enjoy the toys in the Happy Meals. He picks McDonalds for the indoor playground. He likes to slide.
    I agree with Chopped Liver. I don’t need anyone parenting for me. I’ve done a great job without their help so far.

  8. Why McDonalds? They have the deepest pockets!

  9. I agree 100%. It should be up to the parents to decide what their kids eat or don’t eat. And if those states listed actually do have regulations against these types of marketing tie-ins, then it should be up to the states’ consumer-protection departments to sue, not some stupid, self-righteous group that wants to p*ss on everybody’s parade!

  10. This bit of news took me by surprise in just that I had somehow missed this in the news. McD’s is known for targeting the children and get them hooked on the French Fries, but I do agree with others that parents have some responsibility whether their children are going to eat at McD’s or not. Has anyone seen “Super Size Me”? I haven’t eaten a french fry since seeing the movie.

  11. I mean, I could see all this fuss over the guy if he’d led Jersey to the Finals

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