Are you celebrating or commiserating after Tuesday's elections? Either way, if you are a green parent there is one election result that you might want to celebrate: San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has voted, by a veto-proof margin, to ban most of McDonald's Happy Meals as they are currently served in the restaurants.
The measure makes San Francisco the first major city in the United States to ban restaurants from giving away toys with unhealthy meals.
After the vote, McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said, "We are extremely disappointed with today's decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for."
Of course, it's up to parents to make the smart decision when it comes to feeding their kids. But I can speak from experience in saying that kids will beg and whine for those darned meals, and it has nothing to do with the food and everything to do with the toy.
Under San Francisco's ordinance, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, restaurants may include a toy with a meal if the food and drink combined in that meal contain fewer than 600 calories — and if less than 35 percent of the calories come from fat. The ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all kid meals that come with toys.
Of course, McDonald's isn't the only restaurant that gives away toys with kids' meals, but it is probably the most famous one. For better or worse, it has become the face of the opposition to the ban.
No word yet on whether McDonald's plans to revamp some of its meals to meet the new San Francisco requirements, or simply leave the toys out of its now infamous Happy Meals in that city.
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