January 17 2013
McDonald's is replacing Happy Meal toys in the United Kingdom with books, and one regulations expert has questions about the literature.
The non-fiction books involve topics like oceans, animals and stars. McDonald's plans to give away 15 million books by 2015, which will make it the largest distributor of children's books in the U.K.
Julie Gunlock, director of the Women for Food Freedom Project at the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), believes there may be another agenda involved in this project.
"I just wonder if it'll be about nature, or if it will be about global warming; if it will be about animals, or about animals that will be extinct because of human causes," she remarks. "So it'll be interesting to see the types of books that come out."
Another fast-food outlet, Chick-fil-A, also features books in its kids' meals, and Gunlock says she likes those books, as do her children.
"They're the Berenstain Bears and they talk about the Golden Rule and how to be polite and nice," she accounts. "I wonder if [McDonald's] books, though, will have more of an environmental or sort of social welfare kind of message."
AOL points out that McDonald's is often accused of "super-sizing childhood obesity" and questions whether this effort in the U.K. is an attempt to banish that image. The website also notes the question of whether this change will occur at McDonald's in the United States.
"San Francisco banned toys in Happy Meals under the assumption that it would reduce obesity," the IWF spokesperson tells OneNewsNow. "It's absurd, because ultimately, parents are the ones purchasing the Happy Meal. And so the idea that parents are so idle and simple-minded that they can't say 'no' to their children is insulting. I don't know why mothers weren't more outraged by this suggestion -- and yes, I do think it is going to cross the pond."
McDonald's was later allowed to include toys in Happy Meals in San Franciso and other parts of California, following a judge's ruling in 2012.