Today, a public interest group has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s Restaurants claiming that the toys that are included in children’s meals sway them to make unhealthy eating choices.

At the center of the lawsuit is the famous Happy Meal.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest are the filers of the suit and they claim that these Happy Meals unfairly entice kids into choosing foods that can do harm to their health.  The public interest group reports that they had communicated with McDonald’s Corporation this past June, informing them that if they did not cease providing toys with children’s meals, that the group would bring forth a lawsuit.  The suit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, seeks class-action status against McDonald’s Corp.

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest states in a news release, “McDonald’s offerings consist mostly of fatty meat, fatty cheese, French fries, white flour, and sugar — a narrow combination of foods that promotes weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease — and may lead to a lifetime of poor diets.”

Mother of two from Sacramento, CA, Monica Parham, is serving as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.  She suggests that the corporation’s strategy is to use toys as bait to entice her kids to crave McDonald’s.  From the defendant’s side, a McDonald’s spokesperson has said that the company’s meals offer quality food in small portions and that these Happy Meals are indeed appropriate for children.

The Company has pointed out numerous times during the past few months that parents do have the option to choose apple slices instead of French fries and can substitute milk instead of soda.

Directly relevant to this story is the fact that the City of San Francisco last month banned promotional toys bundled with meals that do not meet certain nutritional standards – a clear shot across the bow and seen by the food industry as an attack on Happy Meals.