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11.04.2010

In the News: Sad Times for Happy Meals

11.04.2010
If you've ever heard the jingle, Rice-a-Roni lays claim as the San Fransisco treat. Now, one less treat is available to the Golden Gate locals. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to ban the Happy Meal from the city. Well, not just the Happy Meal. It banned restaurants from handing out toys with any meals that fail to meet certain standards for fat, calories, and sodium.

The surge in childhood obesity sparked the debate of whether these child-friendly meals were encouraging unhealthy eating behaviors among youth. The thought process being that the toy entices children to request the meal. The ban, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, requires restaurants to distribute toys with meals only if they contain fewer than 600 calories, less than 640 mg of sodium, and less than 35 percent of calories in the meals could come from fat (less than 10 percent from saturated fat). The Board of Supervisors hopes this act will result in a decline of their already high child obesity rates.

McDonald's executives were none too happy with the decision, and neither is the San Fransisco mayor. Mayor Gavin Newsom already has plans to veto the bill. The Board also plans to re-vote to overrule the veto. It remains to be seen whether this ban will garner the desired results but for now, Ronald McDonald may be avoiding San Fran as his next vacation spot.

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