The consumer regulatory agency of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has reportedly fined McDonald’s US$1.6 million for allegedly marketing to children. Procon SP has claimed that franchisee Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. violated the state’s consumer code by using children’s characters and toys to promote Happy Meals®. “This is not an isolated case,” a Procon SP lawyer was quoting as saying. “There’s no need to appeal as they do to children without the maturity or the rationality to enter the market as consumers.”

In 2011, the Brazilian Consumer Defense Foundation fined the fast-food corporation US$1.8 million after a nonprofit organization complained that Happy Meal® incentives encouraged “unhealthy eating habits” among children. A McDonald’s spokesperson has since told media sources that the company plans to appeal the latest ruling. Additional details about the Consumer Defense Foundation matter appear in Issue 420 of this Update. See Law360 and Reuters, April 23, 2013.