California mom sues McDonald's over Happy Meals

Dec 16, 2010

A mother-of-two from California launched a class-action lawsuit Wednesday 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.

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User comments : 28

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Quantum_Conundrum
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 16, 2010
eh?

I thought it was common knowledge that almost everything sold by a fast food chain is considered "unhealthy". If you don't want your kids eating it, here's a bright idea, say, "No," and buy them something else.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (12) Dec 16, 2010
Just another symptom of the 'progressive's' mentality that individuals can't control themselves. Therefore the 'progressives' must step in and save people from the evils of the world for the benefit of society.

Many 'progressives' who post here demand govt intervention in the corporate world. Govt must regulate corporations and businesses, and confiscate their wealth to benefit society.
Yet these same 'progressives' miss the connection between life and the perpetuation of society and promote death: abortion and euthanasia, which reduces the number of individuals in that society.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (9) Dec 16, 2010
A mother-of-two from California launched a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against McDonald's, claiming the toys given out with Happy Meals unfairly lure kids into eating unhealthy food.
Unfortunately I have to upset the two trolls above me.

These people suing McDonald's for their marketting are ridiculous. If a 50 cent toy forces you to capitulate to your children, you need to learn how to parent.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (7) Dec 16, 2010
This mother should be prosecuted by the appropriate child welfare office. A six year old should not be allowed to drive to McDonalds without an adult. For one thing, children being lured out the home by advertising for 'unhealthy' fast food meals will have to leave their stations at the garment factory assembly line. This loss of child labor income will negatively impact an idiot mother's quest to make the news by filing ridiculous lawsuits. Hopefully a SWAT team has freed this mother from bring held hostage by her infant.
Corban
5 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2010
"Free market for your strengths, regulation for your weaknesses." Explains every position taken by every corner in political space.

While McDonald's is known to be unhealthy, and it's known that the advertising industry does have children within its sights, it does not logically follow that McDonald's advertising should be regulated as such. I'd say this is a nuanced conjunction fallacy.
John_Paxon
3 / 5 (6) Dec 16, 2010
ryggesogn2 - Way to pack in those logical fallacies in one comment (non sequitur, strawman, etc.).

Obviously, this lady has a parenting issue. That has nothing to do with progressivism. If you'd stop preaching at the Church of Glenn Beck and pick up a book on Progressivism and expose yourself to the other side, you'd be taken a lot more seriously by smart people. Pick up a book on logical fallacies too.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 16, 2010
John, what cultural attitudes encouraged her to sue?
San Francisco is or has tried to ban happy meal toys. McDonalds and others now have nutritiousness happy meal choices.
The current 'progressive' admin is using coercion to promote 'nutrition' as is the 'progressive' mayor of NYC.
I agree it is a parenting issue but let's see what the judge decides. BTW, who appointed the judge who will hear the case?
And of course the CSPI is non-partisan. They are the group that drove coconut oil from popcorn and were for trans-fats before they were against them.
CSPI have been referred to as the 'food police' or 'food nazis'.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Dec 16, 2010
John, what cultural attitudes encouraged her to sue?
Self victimization, same sort of foolishness preached by Christianity and other religious dogma.
I agree it is a parenting issue but let's see what the judge decides. BTW, who appointed the judge who will hear the case?
Don't know yet as the suit hasn't been filed and assigned. Considering it is the Cali superior court probably the conservative Governor.
CSPI have been referred to as the 'food police' or 'food nazis'.
Only by the opinion shows on FOX, and picked up from there in the Conservative echochamber/blogosphere.
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 16, 2010
I wish there was a way they could jail this woman, and remove her kids from her care for this kind of idiotic BS.

Obviously, this lady has a parenting issue.


100% true.

That has nothing to do with progressivism.


100% bull****.
Javinator
5 / 5 (5) Dec 16, 2010
McDonalds provides and clearly displays the nutritional information of everything it sells. The toys can be purchased seperately from the meal so that argument falls apart as well.

The argument is that the mother can't say no to her child when the child is presented with something they want?

If this suit wins it will be pretty disappointing.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2010
If this suit wins it will be pretty disappointing.
Thoroughly so.

I have to ask the few super right wing nutjobs in the first few posts, who exactly are you trying to blame this on again? Multiple people who you label as "progressive" think this is ridiculous. Are you trying to paint us all with the brush you use to name those you despise? Perhaps you should smarten up a bit.
That has nothing to do with progressivism.


100% bull****.
As you're excluded from my above commentary, what do you think makes food regulations a progressive thing as opposed to a ridiculous statist extremism proposition?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Dec 16, 2010
Self victimization, same sort of foolishness preached by

...progressives.
"Liberalism, after all, needs to imagine an unhappy populace. Passing sweeping entitlement programs and convincing voters that big government is the answer only works if people are frustrated with their stations in life.

Read more: http://www.nydail...x"

"Political populists never get that second point. They can’t seem to grasp that a politics based on punishing the elites won’t produce a better-educated work force, more investment, more innovation or any of the other things required for progress and growth.

In fact, this country was built by anti-populists. It was built by people like Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln who rejected the idea that the national economy is fundamentally divided along class lines. "
http://www.nytime...tml?_r=1
SH: populist
ziphead
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2010
As amusing as the discussion around it may be... how is this a science news?
Because CSPI has "S" for "science" in it?
Ratfish
5 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2010
How would the kids know about the toys if you didn't use the Idiot Box to raise them instead of being a real parent?
gmurphy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2010
The reason this is happening in the US is the because of the culture of suing anything or anyone you possibly can. No political philosophy needs to be invoked in order to explain this womans behavior, just greed.
Sinister181
1 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2010
Damn, I guess she was looking for the Unhappy meal. lol
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2010
As amusing as the discussion around it may be... how is this a science news?
Because CSPI has "S" for "science" in it?

Too bad CSPI prefers to practice more politics than science.
People who preferred limited government were once called 'liberals'.
Shootist
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 18, 2010
California mom sues McDonald's over Happy Meals


If you don't like a product, don't purchase it.

This boils down to one issue, "forget liberal and conservative, democrat or republican, there are two kinds of people in the world, those who wish to control the actions of others and those who have no such desire." - Robert A. Heinlein
Husky
not rated yet Dec 18, 2010
it wouldn't shock me if the mother has more burger cravings than her happy meale daughter, a convenient excuse, blame someone else
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2010
Just another symptom of the 'progressive's' mentality that individuals can't control themselves. Therefore the 'progressives' must step in and save people from the evils of the world for the benefit of society.

you are an idiot, enough said. wake up this is the 21st century not the 1700's anymore genius, overpopulation is a huge problem and kids CAN'T control themselves, stick a two year old in front of a TV after explaining to them that they have to earn money and they will still ask for/want every toy from every commercial they see. its not rocket science its common sense, and the fact is: the brain is not the most powerful computer on earth anymore. (especially when they are thousands of brains working to find out exactly what makes your brain want something ie advertisers)
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2010
it wouldn't shock me if the mother has more burger cravings than her happy meale daughter, a convenient excuse, blame someone else

yeah because we all know its the heroin addicts fault for manufacture and supply of the drug.

the first time you try heroin you wont know how addictive its going to be no matter what someone has told you its not like you have experienced it for yourself. then after that first time you can't control yourself and it becomes a bad situations almost exactly like young children and junk food.

but by your reasoning its YOUR fault that subliminal advertisements are so effective. and we should just let corporate america subject us to whatever they want, huge blaring ads on the subway, in cabs and while you sleep because its YOUR fault if that affects you right?

fuckin moron.
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2010
California mom sues McDonald's over Happy Meals


If you don't like a product, don't purchase it.

This boils down to one issue, "forget liberal and conservative, democrat or republican, there are two kinds of people in the world, those who wish to control the actions of others and those who have no such desire." - Robert A. Heinlein


wow you are a complete idiot, your quote supports the california mom more than your point, the advertisers are trying to control what you buy thats why they are not fat ass morons like you in tv advertisements.

i think what it comes down to is people who eat fast food vs people who eat real food. i guess you dolts who eat fast food will die off sooner so we will win eventually. (unless mcdonalds starts poisoning my fruit and veggies)
ironjustice
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2010
I practically raised my kid on McDonalds breakfast pancakes. He seemed to be pretty happy. We STILL enjoy the occasional breakfast Happy Meal. Give the toys to the kid next door.
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2010
@Cave_Man
Your debating skills are impressive. Your effective use of insults provides the counter balance to your logical brilliance, making your superior intellect seem approachable.

Your caring and compassion are unrivaled. By forcing the inferior to confront their physical and mental limitations, you inspire them.

In recognition of your superiority, I would like to nominate you for the Archie Bunker Humanitarian of the year award.
ereneon
5 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2010
So don't take your kids there. They can't force you to take them. Problem solved.
Javinator
5 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2010
I practically raised my kid on McDonalds breakfast pancakes. He seemed to be pretty happy. We STILL enjoy the occasional breakfast Happy Meal. Give the toys to the kid next door.


I feel like you missed the point of the article. I'm sure the kid in this story would be happy too. His mom just got sick of him asking for McDonalds and is looking to make a profit.
rgwalther
not rated yet Dec 22, 2010
ryggesogn2 - Way to pack in those logical fallacies in one comment (non sequitur, strawman, etc.).

I just can't follow what you're saying.
panorama
5 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2010
Is it me or is all McDonalds food way too salty?

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