Proposed ban on toys in children's fast food meals expands

Proposed fast food kid meal ban in San Francisco.San Francisco's proposed ban on toys in McDonald's Happy Meals and other kids' meals unless the food meets certain nutritional guidelines has been expanded to include breakfast as well.

The changed proposal now targets meals including breakfast and also adds another requirement that if bread is part of the meal, it must be made with at least 50% whole wheat. Other guidelines require fruit and vegetables and limit calorie and salt content.

The city's Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development Committee sent it on to the full board for its consideration later this month.

"Our modest ordinance addresses basic nutritional standards," Supervisor Eric Mar, the proposal's sponsor, said at the start of Monday's hearing. The committee meeting was broadcast live and the video archived for later viewing.

A hearing last week drew sharp comments from both sides including criticism from fast food giant McDonald's, which today reiterated its opposition to banning Happy Meal toys as a way to fight obesity. A statement sent to Consumer Ally today was almost identical to McDonald's statement of last week.

The nonprofit group Corporate Accountability International blasted the fast food industry for using toys as a lure for children's meals.

"Though McDonald's and its competitors could spare the health of millions in the years ahead, by losing the mascots, the toys, and other gimmicks that hook kids on unhealthy food for a lifetime, they are instead taking the low road," said Kelle Louaillier, Corporate Accountability International executive director in a statement.
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