As Jed Winer reported back in November 2010, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance prohibiting restaurants from giving away toys with children’s meals – like McDonald’s Happy Meals – that fail to meet specified nutritional guidelines.
Subsequently, San Francisco’s Mayor, Gavin Newsom, vetoed the proposed ordinance, but the Board of Supervisors overrode the veto and passed the ordinance into law. The ordinance took effect a few months ago, in December 2011.
McDonald’s continues, though, to sell its Happy Meals in San Francisco, only now it charges ten cents for the toys that it usually gives away with its Happy Meals. Charging customers for the toys allows McDonald’s to comply with the San Francisco ordinance. See CNN’s coverage here.
At the same time as McDonald’s Happy Meals were being targeted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, McDonald’s was also facing a putative class action in San Francisco, in California state court. In the lawsuit, the named plaintiff accused McDonald’s of violating California’s consumer protection statutes by using toys to market unhealthy food to children. According to the complaint, McDonald’s marketing of Happy Meals is deceptive and predatory. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief prohibiting McDonald’s from advertising Happy Meals featuring toys to California children.
McDonald’s sought dismissal of the complaint based on a lack of any alleged injuries. On Wednesday, in a significant victory for McDonald’s, the presiding California state court judge dismissed the putative class action and denied plaintiff permission to file an amended complaint. See The Washington Post’s coverage here.
Although McDonald’s Happy Meals have survived these challenges in California, with childhood obesity continually making headlines, it is unlikely that we have seen the end of litigation and legislation targeting children’s fast food.