McDonalds is recalling a toy given in children’s Happy Meals called the Step-It activity wristbands due to skin irritation and burn risks. More than 70 incident reports have been filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including seven reports of blisters. Twenty-nine million units in the United States and 3.6 million units in Canada are being recalled. McDonalds has also voluntarily removed the wristbands from Happy Meals. The wristbands come in two styles: “Activity Counter” and “Light-up Band” in six bright colors. Manufactured in China, the plastic wrist-worn pedometers measure steps and blink quickly or slowly depending on the pace of the person wearing one. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers which is why upon learning about concerns with these bands we acted swiftly to stop distribution of these products. We apologize to our customers who were impacted and for the inconvenience this recall has caused.” McDonald’s spokesperson Terri Hickey stated in a press release. The popular fast food company has come under heavy fire in recent years due to the low nutritional value of the food they serve. Many nutritional experts expressed concern over the inclusion of the fitness trackers in Happy Meals, accusing the fast food giant of misleading marketing tactics. “It’s a common tactic used by food manufacturers. They promote their products alongside with healthy lifestyles.” said Jennifer A. Emond, assistant professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. Food manufacturers use this marketing strategy in hopes of diverting parents’ attention away from poor nutrition by tricking them into thinking that more exercise will cancel out unhealthy eating habits. According to a calculator by the Calorie Control Council it would take an average adult man, weighing 195 pounds, about 90 minutes to walk off the 530 calories and 20 grams of fat contained in a McDonalds Happy Meal.
McDonald’s consumers are advised to immediately return the wristbands for a free replacement toy and either a yogurt tube or bag of apple slices. Concerned consumers can reach McDonalds at 800-244-6227 from 7am-7pm CT daily, or online at www.McDonalds.com and click on “Safety Recall” for more information.
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