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McDonald`s Happy Meals in legal hot soup

A Washington-based consumer advocacy group threatened to file a lawsuit against McDonald`s Wednesday, charging that the fast food chain `unfairly and deceptively` markets toys to children through its Happy Meals.

Updated: Jun 23, 2010, 12:49 PM IST

Washington: A Washington-based consumer advocacy group threatened to file a lawsuit against McDonald`s Wednesday, charging that the fast food chain `unfairly and deceptively` markets toys to children through its Happy Meals.

"McDonald`s marketing has the effect of conscripting America`s children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald`s," Stephen Gardner of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest wrote to the heads of the chain in a letter announcing the lawsuit.
The centre, which has filed dozens of lawsuits against food companies in recent years, is hoping the publicity and the threat of a lawsuit will force McDonald`s to negotiate with them on the issue.

The group announced the lawsuit in the letter to McDonald`s 30 days before filing it with the hope that the company will agree to stop selling the toys before a suit is filed.

McDonald`s did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which CSPI says would be filed in state court.
The centre has not settled on a state yet, but the group believes the toys in Happy Meals violate state consumer protection laws in Massachusetts, Texas, the Washington federal district, New Jersey and California.

Bureau Report