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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Meals May Be Banned By San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge You guys -- out of this city!
  • You guys -- out of this city!
The moment your humble narrator heard that legislation was introduced at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting aiming at regulating how nutritious a meal must be for a restaurant to be permitted to hand out a toy, I thought "This must be Eric Mar's doing." Yup. 

Supervisor Mar now has a third legislative interest to go along with banning cigarettes and meaningless resolutions: Booting Happy Meals out of San Francisco.

This will still be legal in Daly City, no matter what
  • This will still be legal in Daly City, no matter what
If Mar's legislation advances, San Francisco would actually be the second Bay Area county to do away with Happy Meal-type toys for fatty, sugary meals. Santa Clara County supervisors voted to forbid restaurants to include toys with unhealthy meals back in April. Mar was obviously paying attention when he put together his legislation; a copy of which is not yet available on the Board of Supervisors' website. He did send around a summary paragraph, however:

Supervisor Mar introduces Healthy Meal Incentive legislation, which sets nutritional standards for restaurant food that is accompanied by toys or other youth focused incentive items. This legislation is aimed at promoting healthy eating habits and to address issues related to childhood obesity. Fast food restaurants target children and youth by offering toys and other incentive items. The Healthy Meal Incentive legislation would encourage restaurants to provide healthier meal options. To provide an incentive item, meals must contain fruits and vegetables, not exceed 600 calories or 200 calories for a single food item and must not have beverages that have excessive fat or sugar.

Another carrot stick, children? It will be interesting to see how far Mar's effort to redefine the Happy Meal goes. As usual, it appears the supervisor has the best of intentions. But it warrants mentioning that, if he wanted to blame a toy for making kids obese, Mar should ban the videogame system.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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