California County Wants To Take The Toy Out Of Your Happy Meal

If your kids pester you into purchasing McDonald’s Happy Meals, they could be severely disappointed the next time they visit Santa Clara County in California, where the county supervisors have voted to pass a law forbidding toys in Happy Meals and other fast food kids meals that don’t meet the county’s nutritional guidelines.

Among the nutritional guidelines set forth in the new law, toys can not be included in meals totaling more than 485 calories, or containing more than 600 mg of sodium. This means that some meals — like Wendy’s 4 chicken nugget meal with mandarin oranges and low-fat milk — would still have the toy, while many meals containing french fries or soda will not.

For now, the new law only effects the unincorporated portions of the county. Of the 151 restaurants in the county offering kids meals with toys, only around a dozen will actually be required to follow the regulations.

“This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes,” said the county supervisor who sponsored the initiative. He claimed the goal of having toys in the fast food meals is “to get them hooked on eating high-sugar, high-fat foods early in life.”

The law will come up for a final vote on May 11. If passed as is, the county health dept. would be able to fine restaurants for violating — $250 for the first violation; $500 for the second and $1000 for each violation thereafter.

Is this a bold move toward preventing childhood obesity? Or is the county trying to interfere where it shouldn’t?

Santa Clara County: Supervisors ban toys with fast-food meals [MercuryNews.com]