June 26, 2010

Ronald McDonald - Accused Of Making Your Kids Fat

Los Angeles, CA (The Weekly Vice) – McDonald’s famous Happy Meals might become a little less happy in the very near future: a watchdog group, called the Center for Science in the Public Interest, served the mega-corporation with a letter on Tuesday, demanding that McDonald’s discontinue including toys in their kids meals or else they’d sue.

The letter arrived weeks after a county in the Silicon Valley became the first to ban the toys from Happy Meals and is the latest attempt by health advocacy groups to regulate the way fast food merchants market their products to children.

Over the past few years, McDonald’s has been offering healthier alternatives in their Happy Meals like milk or juice in lieu of soda, or apple slices (served with caramel dipping sauce) rather than French fries.

The company has also been required to post nutritional information inside their restaurants and have removed the option to “supersize” menu options.

But Stephen Gardner, the litigation director for CSPI, insists that McDonald’s could be doing more and is in fact feeding – so to speak – in to the nation’s rapidly escalating problem with childhood obesity, comparing them to “the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson, William Whitman, disagrees wholeheartedly with this assertion, stating that their meals are “right-sized for kids” noting the healthier options now made available. The food industry, as a whole has also urged parents to take ownership of the things they allow their children to eat.

Whether you believe the CSPI’s viewpoint that the inclusion of toys in kids’ meals is meant to draw kids towards fatty, high calorie foods, or you feel like McDonald’s has done its part as a socially-conscious corporation to keep our kids healthy, one thing is certain: the Happy Meal probably won’t be anything like what we had when we were kids.

Rebecca Diamond
The Weekly Vice

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