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That is exactly what will happen if the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has its way. The group is threatening to sue McDonald’s over the toys they put in the legendary Happy Meals, claiming that the toys lure children to the restaurant to eat allegedly unhealthy food. Here is the WSJ law blog’s take on the matter.

I am all for kids eating healthy and all but come on, don’t take the toys away. I mean seriously, do you think taking the toys away is going to stop kids from wanting a Happy Meal? My guess would be no.

To me this appears to be a very slippery slope. What’s next, do the playgrounds have to go too? What about Ronald McDonald? What about Chucky Cheese or any of the other pizza and games places?

In my opinion this just takes the fun away without addressing the real issue and that is to educate parents on how to make better choices about what they and their children should eat.

There is nothing wrong with an occasional Happy Meal and there certainly is nothing wrong with a free toy (who doesn’t like free toys?), but it’s when fast food becomes a staple of a child’s diet that it becomes a problem. Here again I would say that the blame falls on parents not McDonalds or their Happy Meal toys.

The CSPI’s Stephen Gardner wrote a letter to the fast food giant threatening to sue if the company does not voluntarily stop including toys with Happy Meals.

McDonald’s VP of Communications, William Whitman, said in a statement that he does not agree with the CSPI’s allegations and noted that McDonald’s currently offers more variety than ever before including healthier alternatives to fries and sodas.

The CPSI specializes in suing the makers of allegedly unhealthy food, and is hoping to build on their success in a lawsuit filed against Kellogg in 2006 that ended up with the cereal maker increasing the nutritional content of products marketed toward children.

What do you think? Should Happy Meals lose their toys?

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