'Happy Meals' may disappear in San Francisco

Supervisors vote 8-3 to ban toys with meals they consider 'unhealthy'

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday gave final approval to an ordinance that would force fast-food restaurants to make the meals they market to children healthier.

Supervisor Eric Mar's ordinance would require that, in order to be sold with toys or other items targeted at youth, meals such as the McDonald's Happy Meal include fruits or vegetables and not have excessive calories, sodium, fat and sugar.

McDonald's opposed the legislation, arguing parents should be allowed to make their own choices. At least one local McDonald's owner complained that the law would effectively ban him from serving Happy Meals in their current form.

Mar Tuesday called the legislation "a simple and modest policy that holds fast food accountable."

He argued that with childhood obesity a major concern, it's necessary to compel restaurants that market to children to offer healthier choices.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who opposed the legislation, said in a statement following Tuesday's vote that he would veto "this unwise and unprecedented government intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."

Newsom said that no city in the country had done more than San Francisco to "educate our children and encourage families to make healthier eating choices."

However, the board's 8-3 vote Tuesday approving the ordinance constituted a veto-proof majority.

In other action Tuesday, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a motion that could have the board vote as early as next Tuesday on an interim mayor to replace Newsom, who will leave for Sacramento in January to become lieutenant governor.

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Like this comment
Posted by Jim Short
a resident of California Somerset
on Nov 10, 2010 at 8:10 am

Another Government Regulation for a Socialist USA. McDonalds should simply remove the toy and add a surprise desert. Then they sould massively advertise in San Francisco: "Free mystery desert inside every Happy Meal!" That bypasses the law. As with most laws, there are unintended consequences!

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Posted by delstardotstar
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2010 at 9:28 am

Let 'em, Jim. We'll see how that goes. At least we made them squirm and cost them money in their re-design. The unintended consequence there would be that McDonalds would look even more uncaring and out of touch. I hope they follow your suggestion.

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Posted by Debi
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2010 at 10:01 am

Those folks within the city should ban together and get rid of those who voted for this obsurd law. I know that I will not go to San Francisco anytime soon, because of this stupidity. I am an elderly person and I buy the happy meal for myself, and then give the toys to my grandchildren.....and now THEY are going to tell me I can't do that - I DONT THINK SO!!!!

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 10, 2010 at 10:24 am

GX is a registered user.

What does this have to do with Pleasanton? PW continues to ignore the real issue facing this city and instead throws out distractor articles like this one.

And I'll be extremely surprised if this post doesn't get deleted.

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Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

Ah but these same politician's who think children cannot make good decisions about what they eat; think they can make a good decision when it comes to abortions. They cannot eat a healthly but they can kill a baby...go figure!

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Posted by Teacher
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

It's about choices and for one America has the fattest choice of all- to give into screaming kids that want overly processed foods, full of fat and calories. People just shouldn't eat fast food at all- it's crap! Plus many of you would be surprised at how good real food tastes- fresh food that is. I think this rise in obesity also stems from our instant gratification culture. Ever since technology took off, it seems like people rely way too much on being pleased immediately, which in turn affects how people parent. Instead of speaking with kids, they get the happy meal because it stops them from screaming and crying. I was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and was appalled when a 9/10 year old screamed that she hates her sister and that she's a "bitch". She then went on to say the same thing to her mother- how many of us have seen similar situations? Probably more than people are willing to admit.

One last thing- comparing happy meals to abortion is absurd. An abortion is woman's personal choice that doesn't involve you. As are happy meals but when it's making out kids blow up like the Balloon Platoon, it will cost the government more money. You don't see people going out saying "I'm going to get pregnant just so I can have an abortion." But you most likely would hear a 3rd grader asking to get a happy meal because they played with one of those toys and want one of their own.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm

As much as I applaud the idea behind the ordinance, I don't like the fact that it was passed. This regulation isn't going to change people's day-to-day eating habits; people need to be able to make their own bad choices.
I DO like requirements such as the requirement that food vendors post the calorie count right next to the food items, like they do at the movie theater.

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:46 am

It comes down to personal responsibility and the willingness of parents to be the grownups and say "no" to their kids.

But in the victim society we live in, it is much easier for people to blame their problems on things beyond their control and create rules to force the healthy behavior they should already have.

Like this comment
Posted by Renee
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I agree with some of the people's response here. If the parents of overweight kids want to feed them fat, let them. Sadly, these fat people are a burden to our society, it costs United States close to $150 billion dollars a year. If they didn't cost that much, i said, Let them eat lard. And a response to these posters, the mayor is actually doing you a favor. GO and research the cost obesity. And it is not about the freaking toy, its what Mcdonalds wants to FEED YOU. These problem is COSTING YOU, the TAXPAYER, don't be a retard.

Like this comment
Posted by Grace
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Who needs all that plastic junk/crap anyway? You know it all comes from China, is contributing to the trade deficit, gets tossed in a few months and ends up in our landfills. Just a thought. I'm just as happy to get rid of the dumb toys and marketing ploys... and I am a mom who used to "just say no" to the Happy Meals, except on rare special occasions.

Like this comment
Posted by Thoughts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Just have every kid and parent watch Super Size Me. My teen refuses to eat at fast food restaurants since then. Better yet, make McDonald's play them in their restaurant. Then let people decide.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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