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San Fran Mom Tries to Sue McDonald's Because Happy Meals 'Exploit' Kids, Judge Tells her to Take a Hike


"In time, the practice of using toys to market junk food will seem as inappropriate and anachronistic as lead paint, child labor and asbestos."

A San Francisco mother became so upset with McDonald’s for including toys with its Happy Meals that she brought a class-action lawsuit against the fast food giant.

She "wanted McDonald's to remove the toys from Happy Meals or offer healthier options for the lunch boxes," the Daily Mail reports. "The lawsuit did not seek damages."

That case got tossed out yesterday.

Judge Richard Kramer on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit against McDonald's over the restaurant chain's marketing of its signature Happy Meals, according to Reuters.

“Plaintiff Monet Parham, a mother of two, was represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group,”  the report adds. Parham, along with the CSPI, argued that the use of toys in Happy Meals preys on children's vulnerabilities and encourages them to eat unhealthy food.

"What kids see as a fun toy, I now realize is a sophisticated, hi-tech marketing scheme that's designed to put McDonald's between me and my daughters," Parham argued, according to the Daily Mail.

"For the sake of other parents and their children, I want McDonald's to stop interfering with my family."

Monet Parham (Photo Source: Daily Mail)

Let's see if we got this: if we could only get McDonald’s to stop putting toys in Happy Meals, then kids won’t want French fries or ice cream?

Hopefully, that last sentence was as absurd to read as it was to write. And I’m not alone in this opinion; the judge obviously agrees with me.

In fact, “the judge dismissed the lawsuit without giving the plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended lawsuit,” The Consumerist reports.

As expected, the CSPI is displeased with the court’s decision.

"In time, the practice of using toys to market junk food will seem as inappropriate and anachronistic as lead paint, child labor and asbestos," CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said in a statement.

Yeah, I can see that...

McDonald’s pushed back against the lawsuit by gently reminding Parham that she has the last say in what her family eats -- not her children or McDonald's.

"We are proud of our Happy Meals and will vigorously defend our brand, our reputation and our food," a McDonald's rep said in a statement.

Since the judge’s dismissal, CSPI has vowed to fight on:

McDonald’s must stop exploiting children at some point. Using toys, of all things, to lure young children to fast-food meals is not responsible corporate behavior. It’s a predatory practice that undermines parents, causes rifts in families, and harms kids’ health…

Resolving this question will not hinge on whether the plaintiff in this lawsuit suffered a monetary loss in this case, though we maintain she did. We're studying the judge's decision and will discuss with the plaintiff whether to appeal. We will continue to urge all branches of government, including the courts, to stand up for parents and protect children from unscrupulous marketing techniques.

(H/T: The Consumerist)

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