Consumer protection: Happy meal ban makes sense



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Consumer protection: Happy meal ban of the Mc Donalds group makes sense. The children's menu "links unhealthy food with toys" criticize consumer advocates.

The fast food company "Mc Donalds" has been offering the children's menu "Happy Meal" for years. This combined menu, especially for children, offers toys in addition to food products such as hamburgers or fries. A mother from the US state of California is now suing the globally active company. Her child only wanted to go to Mc Donnalds for the toy. For this reason, the mother has now filed a class action lawsuit. Now the German consumer center in Hamburg has also taken part in the debate.

Consumer advocates are clearly targeting the "Happy Meal" children's menu. The nutrition expert at the Hamburg Consumer Center, Armin Valet, told Tagesspiegel: "Happy Meal combines unhealthy food with toys". A class action lawsuit is not possible in Germany, but a ban on the menu "specially" for children is "sensible".

The California mother of two, Monet Parham, based her complaint on the fact that the company encourages her children to eat an unhealthy diet by combining the menu and children's toys. Above all, targeted advertising for children is reprehensible. Her six-year-old daughter Maya only wants to eat at Mc Donalds because there would be toy characters like Barbies and comic heroes. "I protest against McDonald’s sneaking into my children's heads and influencing what my kids want to eat." Parham said in an interview.

In San Francisco and neighboring Santa Clarita, U.S. city governments have already decided to ban toys from children's menus when a certain calorie, salt, fat, and sugar limit is exceeded.

Mc Donnalds doesn't want to put up with the lawsuit and allegations. After all, one is "proud" of the "Happy Meals", as a company spokeswoman told the "Los Angeles Times". The company is confident that parents know that the Happy Meals is "a fun treat" with a "quality and balanced" meal. It is questionable whether the consumer advice center can actually achieve a ban in Germany. The influence of the fast food chain is too great. (sb, December 18, 2010)

Image: Thommy Weiss / pixelio.de

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