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California judge dismisses Happy Meal lawsuit

A California judge has thrown out a class action lawsuit against McDonald's that claimed the fast food giant used toys to market its meals to children.

The suit was filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on behalf of a California mother who claimed her daughters favored eating at McDonald's because of the toys they received in their Happy Meals.

"I object to the fact that McDonald's is getting into my kids' heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat," said Monet Parham, the mother named in the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in San Francisco, CSPI documented McDonald's marketing strategy aimed at children.

McDonald's "gets into the parents' wallets via the kids' minds," according to CSPI, quoting from an online presentation by Martin Lindstrom, who advises McDonald's on branding and "neuromarketing."

Court documents filed Wednesday show Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer dismissed the suit with prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs are unable to file an amended complaint. The documents did not detail his legal reasoning.

CSPI, dubbed the "Food Police" by its critics, has launched many high-profile campaigns over the years against everything from movie theater popcorn to Chinese food and sugary breakfast cereals. One of the group's more recent campaigns has led to large restaurant chains being forced to disclose calorie counts on their menus.