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News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

Unhappy Meals

•, Michael Mechanic

McDonald's was supposed to be bulletproof. With a global rep to maintain, it has taken considerable pains to ensure that the promotional items it peddles aren't harmful to children. In fact, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which took a drubbing after the 2007 Chinese toy fiasco, holds up McDonald's as a shining example of corporate diligence. From the CPSC website's "Catalog of Good Practices:"

People often do not focus on the extent to which restaurants have entered the toy business. Toys for young children, such as those given away in many fast food restaurants, can be tested for hazards like suffocation and choking. McDonald's is a leader in this regard. Working with a contractor, the company created its own state-of-the-art technology consisting of a lifelike child mannequin and "virtual child" computer system to simulate the physiology of a child. With this advanced technology, McDonald's is able to screen toys used in its promotions to detect and avoid safety hazards before the toys are given out.

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