Sooner or later it had to happen.
The Los Angeles Times reports that McDonald's is facing lawsuits over its happy meals. The public health watchdog, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), alleges that toys promoting the latest "Shrek" movie aimed to lure children into McDonald's restaurants where they are then likely to order food that is too high in calories, fat and salt.
The center's litigation director Stephen Gardner says McDonald's is like the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children. "McDonald's use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children's developmental immaturity," he claims.
So the warning to McDonald's is drop the toys or get sued. As if parents don't have a choice.
It has to be said that the CSPI is no stranger to these sorts of legal shenanigans. In 2006, it informed Kellogg that it planned to sue for marketing sugary cereals and other junk food directly to children and in 2007, Kellogg and the CSPI reached a settlement where Kellogg agreed to have nutritional standards. It also sued Kentucky Fried Chicken but withdrew from that after KFC switched to trans-fat-free frying oil.
The McDonald's lawsuit comes as no surprise. The CSPI had form in this area and would have been waiting for the right opportunity.