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Chile: McDonald's, Burger King, KFC accused of violating ban on toys in children's meals


A photo illustration of a Happy Meal at McDonalds on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco became the first city in the country to pass a law to control the giving away of free toys with unhealthy meals for children. The law requires that kid's meals meet nutritional standards before they can be sold with toys.


David Paul Morris

Fast-food giants McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC are ignoring a new law in Chile banning the inclusion of toys with children's meals, according to a complaint filed to the country’s health ministry on Wednesday.

Chile introduced the regulation on June 7 to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity in the South American country.

The formal complaint, filed by Senator Giudo Girardi, nutrition expert Cecilia Castillo and Medical Society of Nutrition and Obesity president Jaime Garcia, also targets makers of cereal, popsicles and other products that use toys, stickers and other goodies to attract children, Radio U. de Chile reported today.

"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," Girardi was quoted by the Associated Press saying.

Castillo accused the restaurant chains and food makers of abusing the “innocence of children at a time when we have 24 percent of children with obesity or associated diseases.”

The AP said the companies could be forced to remove the toys or face nominal fines if the healthy ministry upholds the complaints.

Santiago, the capital of Chile, is the second-fattest capital city in Latin America, according to the American Journal of Medicine.

Sixty-two percent of the Chilean population is overweight or obese.

More from GlobalPost: Combating Chile's exploding obesity rates


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