Consumer group suing McDonald's over toys

Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:52pm EST
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By Lisa Baertlein and Dan Levine

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. consumer group is suing McDonald's Corp in an effort to stop the world's largest hamburger chain from using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is representing a Sacramento mother of two in the lawsuit, which alleges unfair marketing and other violations of California's consumer protection law. It does not seek monetary damages.

"The lawsuit is about the change, not the money," CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner said.

Representatives from McDonald's did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said he thinks McDonald's will ultimately prevail, but that it will likely have to go through multiple rounds of legal wrangling, which would suit CSPI.

"In the meantime they've got their step toward a national debate, which is what they want," Olson said.


McDonald's debuted the Happy Meal in the United States in 1979. Modern offerings have included themed items from popular films like "Shrek" or sought-after toys like Ty Beanie Babies.   Continued...