McDonald’s Happy Meals may fall on not-so-happy times if one group gets its way.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants to get rid of the toys.
“It isn’t just the meal. It’s the technique you’re using to get kids to buy a meal,” Michael Jacobson with the Center for Science in the Public Interest told ABC News.
The group plans to sue McDonald’s – claiming the chain sells the toys to kids – who are too young to understand marketing practices, just to get those kids to ask for the meal.
That’s deceptive, the group says, because McDonald’s is selling kids on one product to get them to consume another product.
But El Pasoans we caught up with strongly disagreed.
“Kids are kids. You only live once,” said Mike Mancera, with a child in the passenger seat of his truck at a West El Paso McDonald’s.
UTEP Public Health lecturer Adriana Rascon-Lopez said toy or no toy, parents decide whether or not they buy their kids fast food, and parents can change the contents of a meal.
“Instead of a soda we could ask for low fat milk,” Rascon-Lopez said.
“Or you can ask for the apples, that they provide in lieu of the fries. So there are some substitutions we can still make to that meal.”
In a statement emailed to ABC News, McDonald’s vice president of communications William Whitman wrote, “We couldn’t disagree more with the misrepresentation of our food and marketing practices… Happy Meals are right-sized for kids, a concept that has not changed since its introduction in 1979.”
CSPI is focusing on McDonald’s, but many fast food chains include toys with kids meals.