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McDonald’s Faces Class Action over Happy Meals

McDonald’s Faces Class Action over Happy Meals

McDonald’s Corp. is facing a class action lawsuit that claims the fast-food giant baits young children into buying nutritionally poor meals.

California mother of two Monet Parham says she filed the lawsuit in conjunction with The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Wednesday in San Francisco. She believes the chain restaurant violates several consumer policy laws by marketing Happy Meals directly to young children.

“What kids see as a fun toy, I now realize is a sophisticated, high-tech marketing scheme that’s designed to put McDonald’s between me and my daughters,” Parham said, according to The Associated Press. “For the sake of other parents and their children, I want McDonald’s to stop interfering with my family.”

The suit doesn’t seek damages, but aims to convince the court to stop McDonald’s from advertising meals that contain toys to California children.

McDonald’s says it is ready to fight the suit.

“We are proud of our Happy Meals and intend to vigorously defend our brand, our reputation and our food,” company spokesperson Bridget Coffing said in a statement. “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.”

San Francisco recently barred the burger chain from including toys in meals with more than 600 calories or more than 35 of their calories from fat.

“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,” Parham said.

Steve Gardner, litigation director for the CSPI, says that a typical Happy Meal containing a cheeseburger, fries and a Sprite has 640 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat and nine teaspoons of sugar.

Posted in Children’s Health & Parenting, Courts & Litigation, Food & Nutrition0 Comments

Doctors Call for Ban on Second-hand Smoke

LONDON, March 24 (UPI) — Britain’s Royal College of Physicians says smoking should be outlawed in all vehicles and in parks and other public places frequented by children.

Such a ban is necessary to reduce children’s exposure to second-hand smoke, said a report from the college released Wednesday.

Second-hand smoke is a “major cause of death and disease in children (that can) be avoided entirely,” 20 leading doctors wrote The Times of London in support of a ban.

An estimated two million children are exposed to cigarette smoke at home, with children twice as likely to become smokers if a close family member smokes, the doctors said.

Illness from second-hand smoke costs British taxpayers about $34.5 million per year in treatment for respiratory infections, middle-ear disease and bacterial meningitis, said John Britton, the report’s lead author.

“This report isn’t just about protecting children from passive smoking, it’s about taking smoking completely out of children’s lives,” Britton said. “Adults need to think about who’s seeing them smoke.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Children’s Health & Parenting, Other, Smoking0 Comments

Pesticides Linked to Developmental Delays

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) — Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos — banned for use in U.S. households — is associated with early childhood developmental delays, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, but it is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables.

After controlling for building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds.

The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Children’s Health & Parenting, Farming & Ranching, Food Quality & Safety1 Comment

H1N1 Infants Vaccine Recalled

ATLANTA, Dec. 15 (UPI) — About 800,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine for infants made by Sanofi-Aventis are being recalled, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the shots from the French drug maker may have been slightly under-strength. Most of them are presumed to have been administered already and parents are not being urged to contact their doctors, The New York Times reported.

“We think children who got the vaccine are fully protected, assuming they got the two shots we recommend for that age,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the thimerosal-free vaccine, meant for children 6-to-36 months old, was fully potent when released but had dropped 12 percent during follow-up testing, the Times reported.

The recall of the prefilled syringes, which were released a month ago, is voluntary. Doctors are being told to return any supplies they have left.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Children’s Health & Parenting, Human Health & Wellness, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals0 Comments

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