Nanny-Statist CSPI Sues to Ban Happy Meals at McDonald’s

by Hans Bader on December 17, 2010 · 9 comments

in Health and Illness, Legal, Nanny State, Personal Liberty, Regulation, Sanctimony

An ill-informed left-wing group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is suing McDonald’s in California to ban toys from Happy Meals. It is bringing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of “an activist employed by the California government to advocate the ingestion of vegetables, though some pains seem to have been taken to obscure this connection,” abetted by the gullible liberal media, which continue to depict her as just a “random” California mom.

San Francisco earlier banned Happy Meals, even though the meals in San Francisco’s own public schools are less healthy than at McDonald’s.

Why is the plaintiff in the suit against McDonald’s suing? She claims that “[b]ecause of McDonald’s marketing, her daughter has frequently pestered her into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased,” and that “when she said no, her kids became disagreeable” and “pouted.”  If that’s a basis for suing, then, as Walter Olson notes, “McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry. Other kids pout because parents won’t get them 800-piece Lego sets, Madame Alexander dolls and Disney World vacations. Are those companies going to be liable too?”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is the left-wing group that has ignorantly disparaged “normal food items such as baked potatoes, hamburgers, pizza, pork chops, and bacon as unhealthy. Never mind that a baked potato has only 100 calories, gives you 30 percent of your day’s supply of vitamin C (more than a banana), some protein, and many important minerals.”

People claim that McDonald’s makes poor people fat by selling them cheap greasy food, but its customers aren’t that poor (even so-called “poor” people in America have significant disposable income, which is why they often pay $3.69 for a Big Mac, when they could easily buy a McDonald’s double-cheeseburger that’s almost as big and has as much meat for a mere $1.19, even in “poor” places like the inner city).  And its food isn’t particularly fatty: a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder is a lot leaner and healthier than many dishes people cook at home like Quiche Lorraine.  I am not poor, and I periodically feed my 3-year old daughter cheeseburgers or double-cheeseburgers without being nagged to do so (although she certainly enjoys them).

New fast food restaurants were recently banned in South Los Angeles, based on a kooky “food apartheid” claim by the Los Angeles City Council.  Never mind that baked goods are a bigger source of calories for kids than fast-food items like pizza, and that some people lose weight eating at McDonald’s, like me, Soso Whaley, and a Richmond man who lost 86 pounds.  A court recently blocked a class-action lawsuit against McDonald’s over obesity.

While liberal busybodies are suing McDonald’s, they are using federal funds to subsidize the opening of an International House of Pancakes in Washington, D.C., and the development of high-calorie foods to benefit agribusinesses.

Sarah December 17, 2010 at 4:47 am

Your bias astounds me.

Dave December 17, 2010 at 4:56 am

This lawsuit is pointless. Only in California…

Anybody with half a brain knows that you don't have to buy a Happy Meal in order to get the toy. You can just purchase the toy separately (maybe a little over a dollar) and not even have to purchase ANY food. Or you can get your child something healthier off of the menu.

Reader December 17, 2010 at 5:31 am

Why do liberals like IHOP, whose food is sugary and greasy, but not McDonald's?

Hans Bader December 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

As noted above, McDonald's food is actually healthier than the food served in the public schools of San Francisco, whose city government recently passed an ordinance banning Happy Meals.

But the discussion above links to the wrong article.

The correct link is to the discussion of Ira Stoll's findings at:

http://overlawyered.com/2010/12/happy-meal-lawsui

Ma Thrasher December 18, 2010 at 5:07 am

My kids pout about doing their homework. Should I sue the school system. Society is making our kids lazy. Suck it up parents and raise your kids. Don't let the electronics and fast food restraunts do it for you.

Reader December 18, 2010 at 6:26 am

The children of Monet Parham should sue her for bad parenting.

This lawsuit is so utterly ridiculous that it reveals Parham-Lee to be too foolish to be a fit parent.

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