San Francisco Board Overrides Veto of Happy Meal Toy Ban

a McDonald's Happy Meal with Princess Leah Toy - happy Meal banIt's official: McDonald's has a little over a year to change its Happy Meals if it wants to offer a toy with the meals in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 today to give final approval to a proposal that would set nutritional guidelines for children's meals in the city that restaurants would have to follow if they want to continue to offer incentives like toys, tickets or games with the meals.The rules set limits for the amount of calories, fat, salt and sugar as well as requires meals to have servings of vegetables and fruit. Last week, online diet site CalorieLab theorized what a Happy Meal could look like under the guidelines.

The move overrides a veto by city Mayor Gavin Newsom and means the measure will go into effect Dec. 1, 2011. McDonald's has been a vocal opponent of the measure, saying that it takes the decision of children's nutrition out of parents' hands.

In a statement sent to Consumer Ally after the vote, McDonald's USA spokeswoman Danya Proud said the company is examining its options and it was too soon to comment:

"As previously stated, we are extremely disappointed with this decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for. Public opinion continues to be overwhelmingly against this misguided legislation. Parents tell us it's their right and responsibility – not the government's – to make their own decisions and to choose what's right for their children."

"Any fair and objective review of our menu and the actions we've taken will demonstrate we've added multiple options for parents to choose. This includes Apple Dippers (bagged, sliced, pre-peeled apples), low-fat 1% milk, 100% apple juice and Chicken McNuggets made with white meat.

"And, as we have stated all along, we are committed to doing even more. Regarding next steps, we continue to explore a variety of options. It would be premature to further comment or speculate at this time," Proud said.

San Francisco joins Santa Clara County in California in setting nutritional guidelines for children's meals with the goal of fighting childhood obesity. Other cities have looked at banning things like soda for New York City food stamp recipients.
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