Mum sues McDonald's over Happy Meal ads

12:0AM, Dec 16th 2010

By Amanda Pitcher

A mother of two and consumer group are suing McDonald's over the ads for Happy Meals.

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A US mother-of-two has joined forces with a consumer group to file a lawsuit against fast food chain McDonald's claiming the toys given away with Happy Meals is a form of deceptive advertising.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and 41-year-old Monet Parham filed a class action in the San Francisco Supreme Court on Wednesday,TIMEmagazine's Healthland website reported.

The CSPI claims Happy Meal toys are used to negate parents' control and that they encourage children to want to eat unhealthy foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

"Happy Meals are among those things frequently requested, and the first thing they ask me to do is open the toy," Parham said in a press conference, the National Public Radio website reported.

"I'm really concerned about the health of my children, and I don't think it's okay to entice children to get Happy Meals with a toy."

In a statement released by the CSPI in conjunction with their lawsuit, the consumer group explained that young children do not have the "cognitive maturity to understand the persuasive intent of advertising. Advertising that is not understood to be advertising is inherently deceptive".

"Every time McDonald's markets a Happy Meal directly to a young child, it exploits a child's developmental vulnerability and violates several states' consumer protection laws, including the California Unfair Competition Law," CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner said in the statement.

Parham said she decided to file the claim because she was sick of her children demanding Happy Meals.

Parham and the CSPI are not asking that McDonald's stop offering Happy Meals, but that they stop the advertising campaigns around them and the toys that come free with them.

What fast food do your kids pester you for and how do you say no?

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