Food Marketing

Happy Meal Lawsuit Update: Is McDonald's Playing Games with Nutrition Facts?


Michele Simon

Last week I blogged about how the Center for Public Interest (CSPI) is threatening a lawsuit against McDonald's for using toys to promote Happy Meals to kids. Since then, McDonald's has responded, sort of. In a letter apparently fed to the press even before CSPI got to see it, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner attempts to "set the record straight:"

McDonald's Facing Potential Lawsuit for Luring Kids With Happy Meal Toys - It's About Time


Michele Simon

It was only a matter of time. Last month, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) served McDonald's with a notice of its intent to sue if the fast food giant continues to use toys to promote Happy Meals. (An "intent to sue" letter is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in some states.) The basis for the potential case is that using toys to market to small children is unfair and deceptive under the consumer protection laws in a number of states.

How Did PepsiCo's CEO Inflitrate the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Annual Report on Obesity?


Michele Simon

Because I tend to focus my attention on news being generated by the major food companies, I don't always pay close attention to the latest scary reports on obesity data. So when the annual report called F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America came out this week, I just thought, Oh there's that report again with the awful name, with the same gloomy numbers as last year.

Scooby-Doo Salad? No Thanks.


Susan Linn, Ed.D.

I happen to know a five-year-old fan of SpongeBob SquarePants who told her father, in no uncertain terms, that SpongeBob mac and cheese tastes better than any other macaroni and cheese.  It turns out she was right—sort of. A recent study from the Rudd Center at Yale found that characters like Scooby-Doo and Dora the Explorer actually influence how children experience the taste of junk food, as well as their choice for a snack.

We did it! McDonald's Report Card Ads Expelled from Seminole County

Thanks to the efforts of CCFC members, McDonald's has ended its controversial report card advertising in Seminole County, Florida.  Children in kindergarten through fifth-grade had been receiving their report cards in envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald promising a free Happy Meal to students with good grades, behavior, or attendance.  CCFC was alerted to the advertising by Seminole County parent Susan Pagan and launched a campaign, which resulted in nearly 2,000 letters to McDonald's and plenty of bad publicity for the fast food giant.

Kellogg Agrees to New Standards for Food Marketing to Children: Settlement Agreement with CCFC and CSPI will limit junk food adverts

(June 14) Today, as part of a settlement agreement with CCFC and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Kellogg announced major restrictions in the way that they will market food to children.  In return CCFC, CSPI and two Massachusetts parents will not proceed with a planned lawsuit against Kellogg.

Fire Shrek! List of Shrek Food

Citing the numerous junk food promotions linked to Dreamworks’ May 18th  release of Shrek the Third, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has launched a letter-writing campaign to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to remove  Shrek from his role as spokescharacter for the department’s healthy lifestyles and childhood obesity campaign.  CCFC found 17 separate food promotions featuring more than seventy different products, most of which are for energy-dense, low-nutrient foods.


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