One California woman is extremely fed up with McDonald’s business strategy. Monet Parham, a Sacramento mother of two, filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s on Wednesday, along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The nutrition and foods advocacy group is currently seeking approval from court to proceed with the case on a class action basis.

The woman claims that the fast-food restaurant uses toys to market directly to young children and infiltrate their minds as a ploy to get them to eat McDonald’s food and build an unhealthy habit of consuming fast food.

“We have to say no to our kids so many times and McDonald’s makes that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat”, the 41-year-old woman told CNN. For her and CSPI, marketing towards children is not okay.

CSPI executive director, Michael Jacobson, accused McDonald’s of  “one of the most insidious marketing practices–dangling a toy in front of a small child.” He believes that their practice is “unfair” and “deceptive” and that “the food industry has a responsibility not to intrude into families by using sleazy marketing techniques getting kids to pester their parents.”

Jacobson compared the fast food giant’s tactics to those of a tobacco company marketing to youth. “In this instance, McDonald’s is worse. They are going straight at little kids,” he said. “The company is using unfair techniques to persuade the kids to persuade the parents to go to McDonald’s. Tobacco companies don’t go after 3-year-olds. Neither does Coca-Cola or Pepsi.”

However, McDonald’s is not letting go of their Happy Meals campaign and legacy, which has been in place since the summer of 1970.

“We stand on our 30-year track record of providing a fun experience for kids and families at McDonald’s,” Bridget Coffing, a company spokesperson said to CNN. “We listen to our customers, and parents consistently tell us they approve of our Happy Meals. We are confident that parents understand and appreciate that Happy Meals are a fun treat, with quality, right-sized food choices for their children that can fit into a balanced diet.”

The CSPI has recently challenged Kellogg’s cereals for lading their foods with sugar in order to target children. In that case, the organization and the cereal company reached a settlement.

What do you think? Is it appropriate to market foods to young children? Or should the happy meal be banned?

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