Where’s the beef: Mother sues McDonald’s over Happy Meals-can’t stand up to demanding children

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On the heels of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors regulating the manner in which the fast-food giant serves Happy Meals in its county, a new attack has been launched by a group claiming that the tiny toys served up with the meals amounts to deceptive advertising.

The lawsuit from the group, the Oakbrook, Illinois-based Center for Science in Public Interest filed the lawsuit in the sympathetic venue of San Francisco County’s Superior Court. The complaint alleges unfair competition and false advertising.

According to the complaint, “McDonald’s exploits very young California children and harms their health by advertising unhealthy Happy Meals with toys directly to them.” Additionally, “children 8 years old and younger do not have the cognitive skills and the developmental maturity to understand the persuasive intent of marketing and advertising.”

CSPI director Stephen Gardner said that his organization approached McDonalds several times out of court to change the Happy Meals, but that the company had “stonewalled them.” “We’re not trying to force McDonald’s to sell apples and sprouts,” Gardner said. “We’re just trying to stop McDonalds from marketing to 3-year-olds.”

The plaintiff in the lawsuit Monet Parham, a Sacramento mother of two, claimed she was bringing the lawsuit because of repeated requests by her two daughters, 6 and 2, for trips to McDonald’s to get the Happy Meals.

“I don’t think it’s OK to entice children with Happy Meals with the promise of a toy,” she said, adding that she tries to hold her daughters, 6 and 2, to monthly visits. However, she said the requests increased this summer, thanks to the popularity of “Shrek Forever After” and the idea of collecting all of the toys, which would require weekly visits.

“Needless to say, my answer was ‘no,’ ” she said. “And as usual, pouting ensued and a little bit of a disagreement between us. This doesn’t stop with one request. It’s truly a litany of requests.”


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Comments (8)
  1. Taylor says:

    I think it is perfectally acceptable that the government tells what we should eat, in fact Mrs. Obama knows the most about what children should be eating, we have too many obese childen in this country!

    • IDLaura says:

      What am I missing here, Taylor? Have you raised children? Couldn’t you tell them “NO”? My kids have kids now and eating out is a once a month treat for them. That is their expectation and they don’t fuss about it, even tho they see these MickeyD’s commercials.

      Unfortunately, you haven’t been studying what the gov’t wants to do with our food as I have. I do NOT want them involved in my food choices as the gov’t now does not promote healthy choices. Mrs Obama has NOT studied nutrition formally, she is a lawyer. If and when she puts in the years of studying to make informed comments about nutrition, then and only then will I listen to her.

      To eat healthy, I raise my own meat (goat, beef and lamb) and dairy (milk and it’s products) and some garden produce. What I can’t provide I get from local farmers. According to my VA (Veterans Affairs) docs, I am healthy and to keep up the good work. My nutritionist just laughs at what Michelle Obama says to the public. She’s impressed that I reversed my Type 2 diabetes….no more pills for me! 😀 I know many people that are doing what I am doing and are improving their health also.

      • James D. says:

        I agree 100%. Obama doesn’t really know what’s going on in the real world- she even had the nerve to plant that phony White House garden. Atually, the gardeners planted fully-grown plants for a photo-op.

  2. MrBadExample says:

    This is like saying “my dog shits in the house after he eats eukanuba, i want to sue them because my dog likes thier food and i can not control him”
    i just do not understand this type of thinking, if you can not control your kids, maybe you shouldnt have had them, this is not news, this is the status quo in this country. its a symptom of a larger more insidious problem. somewhere along the way, we ceased being thinking people

  3. Just da Facts says:

    LOL Taylor is a MORON!

  4. Mona says:

    This lawsuit is really stupid. Ihave kids and if I say no it is no. I am not going to be forced to take them somewhere just because they want it. Quit whining lady and become a REAL parent.

  5. Steph says:

    I think we are missing the “BIG PICTURE”. I think the kids are trying to tell their mom that she cant cook. If my mom couldnt cook I would want McD’s too. Sad when a 2yr old says your cooking sux!!!

  6. Skylar says:

    I myself have reared 7 children, they are all very diciplined, i only allow them to eat organic products. They have never eaten at a McDonalds, nor do they want to. I only let them eat at vegan resturaunts because i can trust their products.

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