The issue stems from health concerns that are being voiced by local governments in California and possibly elsewhere. The assertion is that McDonald's Happy Meals, which are marketed towards children by the use of free toy giveaways, contain unacceptably high levels of sugars, sodium, and fats. Local politicians are forwarding the proposition that they shall ban McDonald's use of toys as a marketing tool if the company doesn't change the Happy Meal offering.
According to a report from the SFGate website, "The proposal... calls for setting nutritional standards that restaurants must follow if they want to give away toys with the kids' meals. It would limit the sugar, sodium and fat content, and require the inclusion of fruits and vegetables."
I spoke to a line manager at my local McDonald's restaurant, and she stated that she had not heard of any coming changes to the popular Happy Meal offering. I spoke to several people in various McDonald's corporate offices, and no one gave indication that McDonald's Corp. is in any way reacting to this local government pressure.
It remains to be seen whether or not local governments shall indeed rip the toys from the hands of eager little chicken nugget eaters. It remains a question also whether or not McDonald's Corp. would bow to local pressures regarding any combination of food ingredients and marketing strategies. The fact remains that it is distinctly the responsibility of parents and guardians to oversee what children take into their busy little hands and hungry little mouths.