Restaurants can't give out toys with unhealthy meals, San Francisco officials say

Dec 21, 2010

happy meals can't be sold unless they're healthy enough, SF says

The days of the Happy Meal cheeseburger with a cute plastic toy thrown in at the end for good measure are over, at least in San Francisco. The city's Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 this week to ban the distribution of toys in meals intended for kids which do not meet minimum nutritional standards.

According to Consumer Affairs, the proposed ordinance - which must still be put to a final vote - will require any meal with a toy included to have less than 600 calories and 640 milligrams of sodium. Additionally, less than 35 percent of the calories in the meal can come from fat, and it must provide at least half a cup of fruit and three-quarters of a cup of vegetables, Consumer Affairs says.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said the chain was "disappointed" by the board's action. "Public opinion continues to be overwhelmingly against this misguided legislation. Parents tell us it's their right and responsibility, not the government's, to choose what's right for their children," said Dayna Proud, according to Consumer Affairs.

Starting kids on the path to healthy lifestyles early is important, and can help them enjoy longer lives and better life insurance premiums as a result, experts say.

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