The Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class action suit in a California court Wednesday, claiming McDonald’s violates the state’s consumer protection laws by using toys to market Happy Meals to young children.
The basis of the lawsuit is that McDonald’s uses the toys to entice children to buy the meals. The group claims that McDonalds’ advertising is deceptive in that it offers healthy alternatives, but what it actually sells is something else. The group says:
“In other words, McDonald’s offerings consist mostly of fatty meat, fatty cheese, French fries, white flour, and sugar — a narrow combination of foods that promotes weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease — and may lead to a lifetime of poor diets”
McDonalds counters with “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.”
Now who are you going to believe? I have to admit that I have had more than my fair share of the “balanced diet” offered by McDonald’s, I can verify that the consumers advocacy group has it right. McDonalds is justified in saying that their meals can fit into a balanced diet because if you only eat at McDonalds once a year or even once a month, then you body can certainly process the junk. But how often to kids or teenagers eat at McDonald’s or the other fast food outlets?
The law suit is just a small step in the right direction. We need municipalities to ban fast food businesses from locating close to high schools. We need the fast food chains to provide warnings on their junk food in the same way that cigarette companies must post health risk warnings. How is it justified that smoking is bad and eating junk food isn’t bad? What we really need is our governments and schools to educate us about how critically important it it s to eat and drink alkaline foods and water.
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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.