Typical Happy Meal Banned in San Francisco – Eric Mar’s Legislation Passes With Veto-Proof Supermajority

The typical Happy Meal (or Kids’ Meal or what have you) with an included toy has just been banned in the City and County of San Francisco. Check it:

“This legislation is aimed at promoting healthy eating habits and to address issues related to childhood obesity.  The legislation encourages restaurants to provide healthier meal options.  To provide an incentive item, meals must contain fruits and vegetables, not exceed 600 calories, and must not have beverages that have excessive fat or sugar.”

Today’s vote at the Board of Supervisors was 8-3, which means that any veto from Mayor Gavin Newsom would get overridden with a quickness, one would presume. Robble robble, indeed.

Legislation author and District One Supervisor Eric Mar is aiming to “challenge the restaurant industry.” Well, mission accomplished.

Get all the deets from this uploaded doc: Healthymlsdig3

So, either McDonalds will alter its menu accordingly or you won’t be able to get the likes of these Barbie dolls, these “Youth-Focused Incentive Items” in the 415 come December 1, 2011:

The upshot is that McDonald’s es infeliz. Muy infeliz. See?

Just 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.’”

So there you go.

All the deets:

“Supervisor Eric Mar’s Healthy Meal Legislation passes with a supermajority

The Healthy Meal Legislation sets nutritional standards for restaurant food that is accompanied by toys or other youth focused incentive items. Supervisor Eric Mar’s legislation is co-sponsored by Supervisors Campos, Chiu and Avalos and was supported by a broad coalition of grassroots community organizations, parents and health professionals.  Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Daly, Dufty, Mar, Maxwell, and Mirkarimi voted in support of the legislation.

This legislation is aimed at promoting healthy eating habits and to address issues related to childhood obesity.  The legislation encourages restaurants to provide healthier meal options.  To provide an incentive item, meals must contain fruits and vegetables, not exceed 600 calories, and must not have beverages that have excessive fat or sugar.

“This is a tremendous victory for our children’s health. Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color,” said Supervisor Eric Mar. “This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment.”

The effective date of the legislation is December 1, 2011.

OK then.

What the suits had to say about this plus Your Amended Legislative Digest, after the jump.

“SF Votes to Curb Junk Food Marketing to Kids

Measure limits toy giveaways linked to range of diet-related health conditions

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2, 2010 – Today the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of an ordinance to limit toy giveaways in children’s meals that have excessive calories, sodium and fat, making San Francisco the first city in the nation to take such action. The measure passed on first reading with a veto-proof majority of 8-3. It will take effect December 1, 2011.

Since the introduction of the McDonald’s Happy Meal in 1979, toy giveaways have been a primary vehicle for marketing junk food to kids. Each year, fast food chains sell more than a billion unhealthy kids’ meals with toys to children ages 12 or younger.

“This is a tremendous victory for our children’s health. Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, the ordinance’s sponsor. “This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment.”

More than a dozen local restaurants supported the measure, joining an eclectic mix of public health professionals, educators, parents, organizations, small businesses, community advocates, and faith leaders. This broad coalition was up against a formidable foe in McDonald’s and its surrogates, which spared no expense in opposing the measure. From aggressively lobbying public officials to threatening lawsuits, it quickly became clear just how critical toy giveaways are in peddling fast food to kids.

Each year, McDonald’s and its competitors pump hundreds of millions of dollars into toy promotions and other forms of predatory marketing  because the return on investment is high…for them, at least. Children up to age 12 command $40-50 billion in directing purchasing power, and influence another $670 billion in family purchases each year.

The downsides are the direct implications for children’s health. Reducing even one form of predatory marketing – fast food TV advertisements, for instance – could reduce the number of overweight U.S. children and adolescents by nearly 20 percent.

“Supervisor Mar and his colleagues took a courageous stand in advancing this common sense measure,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of Corporate Accountability International. “As the city has so many times before, it put children’s health first and paved the way for other cities to curb the predatory marketing that continues to hold public health education back.”

Corporate Accountability International’s recent report, “Clowning with Kids’ Health” analyzes how the industry has in the past avoided accountability for its role in today’s epidemic. For one, fast food chains have defended giveaways and other predatory marketing by claiming they are increasingly offering “healthier” options (such as apple dippers with a sugary caramel dipping sauce). Not only is “healthier” a relative term, a recent survey reveals that the “healthier” options are seldom the default option on the menu – a parent must explicitly ask for them. The toys are always included.

“So many of us are on the front lines of this children’s health crisis,” said Dr. Carmen Rita Nevarez, vice president of the Public Health Institute. “One in three kids are, or will become, sick from the food they eat. We see it not only in our city’s waiting rooms and classrooms, but in our soaring health care bills. It’s time for fast food promotions to stop contravening our efforts to change this reality.”

Santa Clara County took comparable action this spring, to address the similarly staggering local rates of diet-related children’s health conditions like diabetes.”

AMENDED LEGISLATIVE DIGEST

[Setting Nutritional Standards for Restaurant Food Sold Accompanied by Toys or other Youth Focused Incentive Items.]

Ordinance amending Article 8 of the San Francisco Ordinance Health Code by adding Sections 471.1 through 471.9, to set nutritional standards for restaurant food sold accompanied by toys or other youth focused incentive items.

Existing Law

The San Francisco Health Department permits all restaurants in San Francisco under Article 8 of the San Francisco Health Code. The department inspects the permitted establishments and enforces the applicable health and safety requirements.

Amendments to Current Law

The proposed legislation amends Article 8 of the San Francisco Health Code by adding Sections 471.1 through 471.9, to set nutritional standards for restaurant food sold accompanied by toys or other youth focused incentive items. The ordinance defines “Incentive Item” as meaning (1) any toy, game, trading card, admission ticket or other consumer product, whether physical or digital, with particular appeal to children and teens but not including “Single Use Articles” as defined in California Health & Safety Code Section 113914 as of January 1, 2009, or (2) any coupon, voucher, ticket, token, code, or password redeemable for or granting digital or other access to an item listed in (1).

A restaurant may combine a free toy or Incentive Item with the purchase of a meal if the meal does not include any of the following as defined in the ordinance: excessive calories, excessive sodium, excessive fat including saturated fat, and trans fat exceeding 0.5 grams. A meal must also contain at least 0.5 cups or more of fruits or vegetables. Breakfast items must contain 0.5 cups of fruits or vegetables.

A Restaurant may provide a free toy or Incentive Item in combination with the purchase of a single food item or beverage if the food or beverage includes less than 35% of total calories from fat and less than 10% of calories from added caloric sweeteners.

The ordinance has been amended to remove the requirement that a meal include whole grains. The ordinance has also been amended to take effect on December 1, 2011.

The Department of Public Health shall enforce the ordinance and the Director of the Health Department may issue administrative citations for the violations of the ordinance under San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 100.

The intent of this proposed ordinance is to improve the health of children and adolescents in San Francisco by setting healthy nutritional standards for children’s meals accompanied by toys or other incentive items. These standards will support families seeking healthy eating choices for their children by permitting restaurants to offer toys and other incentive items only in conjunction with foods meeting specified nutritional criteria. This legislation imposes no requirements for the advertising or labeling of food or beverages or disclosure of ingredients.

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2 Responses to “Typical Happy Meal Banned in San Francisco – Eric Mar’s Legislation Passes With Veto-Proof Supermajority”

  1. melanie says:

    I think this is a really brave and responsible political move.
    Yes, Happy Meals are fun for kids, but they are incredibly unhealthy when eaten often, and they do condition kids to prefer greasy, salty food. What you eat as a child influences what you like for the rest of your life.

    Of course McDonalds is unhappy, they have to spend a few cents more on the Happy Meals to add fruits and vegetables, change the recipe to contain less fat and sugar, and -probably their worst fear – the children will become responsible adults who don’t need fast food 5 times a week.

  2. Laurie says:

    I heard this was called
    “food justice”?! No it’s not, it’s an insult to the citizens and visitors to your city. McDonald’s is already responding to the market’s demand for healthier menu choices. Let individuals decide what their meal will consist of, not a bunch of bureaucrats!