Happy Meals may no longer come with a toy in California’s Santa Clara County, after lawmakers passed a ban on including toys with kids’ meals over 485 calories.
County supervisor Ken Yeager said Tuesday that the ordinance “prevents restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids’ meals,” and would help fight childhood obesity. “This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes,” Yeager said. “Under this ordinance, restaurants are still permitted to give out toys. This ordinance merely imposes very specific, common-sense nutrition standards for children’s meals that are linked to these incentives.”
While McDonald’s and its rivals have introduced healthier meal options for children, some critics say they have not done enough to fight childhood obesity — a battle that California’s lawmakers are more than willing to take on.
California was first to institute a state-wide ban on soda in public schools and state lawmakers now are weighing a proposal to tax full-calorie sodas and other sweetened beverages.