News In Brief

County bans Happy Meal toys

Daryl Paranada Apr 28, 2010

If you’re planning to buy a McDonald’s Happy Meal for your kid in California’s Silicon Valley sometime soon, don’t expect to get a toy.

In a 3-2 vote, supervisors in Santa Clara County have decided to ban promotional toy goodies in meals with more than 485 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium, 35 percent of total calories from fat or 10 percent of calories added from sugar.

The California county is the first in the nation to ban fast food restaurant toys because the meals they come with are unhealthy.

Backers of the law say it is a necessary step to combat childhood obesity. In Santa Clara County, one in four youth are overweight or obese. Opponents are upset that the government is intruding in family affairs, and the decision has angered the California Restaurant Association.

The ordinance covers unincorporated areas of the county, which would affect around a dozen fast-food chains and several local restaurants. Violators of the ban would be fined $1,000 for violations. A final vote to reaffirm the decision is expected to take place on May 11. If passed, it would take effect in 90 days.

McDonald’s Happy Meals were first introduced in 1979. Does this ban mark the beginning of the end for Happy Meals? Do you support the ban or think it’s too much government meddling?

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