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.