McDonald's fined $1.6 million for the marketing of Happy Meals

McDonald's accused of marketing to children with unhealthy meals


DETROIT – McDonald's has been hit with a fine by Procon, a Brazilian consumer agency, for targeting children with its advertising and toys, according to the Chicago Tribune. The fine is $1.6 million.

The big fine adds to the worldwide debate about how the fast food restaurant isn't good for young children. The Tribune reported that more fines could come up for McDonald's, more than doubling the fines the company already has. More consumer agencies could follow suit.

Renan Ferraciolli, Procon's top lawyer, told the Tribune, "There's no need to appeal as they do to children with the maturity or the rationality to enter the mart as consumers."

This fine stems from a 2010 campaign offering toys and meals from the hit movie "Avatar."

The spokesperson for McDonald's didn't want to comment on the case. The company can appeal the fine in court.

According to the Tribune, in the United States, pediatricians have urged a ban on advertising unhealthy foods to children, but legal measures have gained little traction. A judge last year threw out a lawsuit against Happy Meal marketing.

Regulators have urged companies to end food advertising to children on their own will, unless they are promoting healthy products. McDonald's has added apples and reduced the amount of French fries in its Happy Meals.