epidemic is more severe than that of any other large
industrialized nation. In America today, over 30 percent of
adults and 15 percent of children are obese. More so than any
other medical issue, obesity is crippling
the U.S. economy and health care system.On
Wednesday, a landmark
lawsuit was filed by the Center for Science in the Public
Interest accusing McDonald's, America's largest fast food chain, of
luring children into unhealthy eating with toys in "Happy
Meals".Monet Parham, a mother of two in Sacramento, was
one of the sponsoring plaintiffs in the case and comments, "I
object to the fact that McDonald's is getting into my kids' heads
without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to
case is similar in some regards to the class action lawsuits filed
against Camel Cigarettes over its use of the "Joe Camel"
cartoon character. While eating junk food isn't illegal for
children like smoking cigarettes is, many physicians say the risks
associated with obesity are as bad as smoking cigarettes or worse.
It should be noted that Camel Cigarettes was forced to discontinue
its iconic character and settle its lawsuits out of court for a tidy
the Happy Meal be next?Lawyers
for the CSPI say that McDonald's is both harming children by luring
children with the toys and harming its competitors which no longer
offer similar prizes with their kids meals. States Steve
Gardner, CSPI litigation director, "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."The group was also critical of McDonald's claims
that it had made its Happy Meals "healthier" by adding
Apple Dippers or low-fat milk as options. They point out that
fries and pop are still the most commonly served options for the
Happy Meal.CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson states,
"McDonald's congratulates itself for meals that are
hypothetically possible, though it knows very well that it's mostly
selling burgers or chicken nuggets, fries, and sodas to very young
children."McDonald's spokesperson Bridget Coffing
refused to directly comment on the lawsuit, but defended the happy
meals, stating, "We are proud of our Happy Meals and intend to
vigorously defend our brand, our reputation and our food. 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."What
the Suit Means to American's Health, The Fast Food BusinessThe
idea of government courts policing American's eating habits and
replacing the role of proper parenting is controversial. And
its important to note that government intervention is partly
responsible for the success of
fast food, as farm subsidies have reduced the cost of beef and corn
to much lower levels than Europe and Asia.For McDonald's, the
suit couldn't have come at a much worse time. The company was
just hit by a massive
data loss, in which it may have lost as many as 13 million
customers' names and email addresses. And over the last couple
years the company's image has been damaged by the nonfiction
case is significant for other fast food companies, as well.
Depending on its outcome, other competitors, like Taco Bell, which
does often offer toys with kids meals, may have to eliminate them as
well. And if the practice is condoned by the court, competitors
who aren't offering toys may feel compelled to keep up.In
other words, this super-size case may ultimately be the prelude to
the U.S. government either practicing a hands-off policy as
Americans' waists swell; or opting to try to force consumers to
healthier options, via either court rulings or legislation.
quote: This is just another stupid lawsuit trying to post the blame where it doesn't belong.. Total BS.
quote: Advertising junk food to kids really screws with their heads
quote: Kudos McDonalds, for my job security.
quote: Actually, the hot coffee law suit wasn't about her being stupid and spilling the coffee. It was the fact that McDonald's purchased sub par coffee and heated it to unreasonably high temperatures in order to produce the scent all coffee drinkers know and love.
quote: Also, she didn't win millions of dollars as most people believe either. Appeals brought the number down to something much more reasonable (like medical and court costs plus a few thousand).
quote: This has got to be as dumb as the old lady + hot coffee law suit.
quote: Evidently you don't know much about children and human mentality at all.
quote: As for me personally I will welcome any way they are forced to sell as many healthy food as possible as often its really hard to make choice between 30 types of junk and 2 healthy foods as none want to eat same thing 5 times a day.
quote: Oh, and let me finish by pointing out that many families actually can't afford the ingredients required to make a good, wholesome, home cooked meal.
quote: That's nonsense. You don't need to go to the local upscale market to buy overpriced fancy organic ingredients to make a wholesome meal.
quote: They should award the plaintif. The judgement should be: McDonalds execs are forced to listen to a choir of children going, "please! please can we go to mcdonalds! please can I have fries." continuously until they pass out from exhaustion. That's what the punishment should be because that's what they are inflicting on parents.
quote: by kleinma on December 16, 2010 at 6:22 PM Any kid wanting a happy meal can't go get one on their own... why are parents never to blame? Shitty kids are created by shitty parents
quote: "I object to the fact that the Reverend is getting into my kids' heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to think and do."
quote: Much of the interviewing press was happy to treat Monet Parham as a random (if oddly well-informed) California mom, but it didn’t take the blogosphere long to discover that she is apparently anything but random. Ira Stoll, who blogs at Future of Capitalism and used to put out the New York Times-tweaking smartertimes.com, soon discovered (via a commenter) that she is in fact the same person as Monet Parham-Lee, who is a “regional program manager” on the state of California payroll for child nutrition matters. Specifically, she works on a federally funded program that campaigns to exhort people to eat their vegetables and that sort of thing. The comment: “Interestingly, her name has been scrubbed from the website of Champions for Change, the Network for a Healthy California. She has given numerous presentations and attended conferences on the importance of eating vegetables and whatnot. “She presents herself as an ordinary mother. She is not. She is an advocate, and an employee of a California agency tasked with advocating the eating of vegetables. To the extent that Monet Parham-Lee has EVER taken her daughter to a McDonald's, she should have known better.”
quote: "McDonald's congratulates itself for meals that are hypothetically possible, though it knows very well that it's mostly selling burgers or chicken nuggets, fries, and sodas to very young children."