Chile passes a law to prevent toys from being included in children's meals, targeting McDonald's Happy Meal and other fast-food restaurants like Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The companies are still using toys to draw in Chile's increasingly chubby children more than a month after the ban took effect on June 7, Sen. Giudo Girardi said as he filed a formal complaint Wednesday with the health ministry.
"These businesses know that this food damages the health of children and they know that the law is in effect. They're using fraudulent and abusive means," Mr. Girardi said.
The complaint also targets makers of cereal, popsicles, and other products that attract children with toys, crayons or stickers, as well as markets that sell the food.
If Chile's health ministry upholds his allegations, the companies could be forced to remove the goodies or face nominal fines.
Girardi said he wrote the law because nearly a quarter of Chile's 6-year-olds now suffer from childhood obesity — and that its passage came despite seven years of industry lobbying.
"These corporations threatened that if the law was approved there would be no more money for children's foundations, the sick, or athletes, but we were finally able to create a great alliance between the civil society and scientists to defeat these lobbyists," the senator said.
McDonald's Happy Meals — marketed as "Cajitas Felices" in Spanish — have been a major draw for 4-year-old Florencia Moraga, who was playing with her Ice Age movie toys Wednesday night with her father Ricardo at a restaurant in downtown Santiago.