Photo: Christina Kennedy, via Wikimedia Commons
Santa Clara County, California, has just outlawed Happy Meals. Well, not in so many words, but in effect. The new law, passed in a 3-2 vote of county supervisors, makes it illegal to give out toys with "unhealthy" meals. Meals that have more than 485 calories, more than 600 milligrams of sodium, more than 35 percent of total calories from fat, or more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar are affected by the ordinance.
Other cities may soon follow suit. According to San Francisco Examiner writer, Joshua Sabatini, The City by the Bay is looking to enact a similar ban. In Sabatini's article, he quotes Supervisor Eric Mar as saying, “We will protect our communities from fast food companies that are spending $1.6 billion marketing their wares to children.”
The response from the California Restaurant Association to the Santa Clara law has been vociferously negative. One ad in the campaign showed a child being led away in handcuffs with the caption, "Who Made Politicians the Toy Police?" The CRA believes that healthy options are already being presented. You may have noticed this trend over the past several years. Fresh fruit, salads, and low-fat milk have been available as substitutions in Grand Prairie fast food eateries, like Chick-Fil-A, for quite a while.
While it is true that Grand Prairie is nothing like California when it comes to regulations, is it possible that a similar move could be on its way here? What do you think? Should the government protect children from fast food? Or should parents just tell their kids "no" when they ask for things that aren't good for them? Vote in the poll below.