November 10th, 2010
10:56 AM ET

San Francisco bans Happy Meals with toys

Michael Martinez

(CNN) - The San Francisco, California, Board of Supervisors on Tuesday banned most McDonald's Happy Meals with toys, as they're now served.

The ordinance, which requires McDonald's and other fast-food servings with toys to meet new nutritional standards, now goes to Mayor Gavin Newsom, who indicated before his election last week to California lieutenant governor that he would veto the law.

That veto would be meaningless because the board approved the ordinance 8-3, a veto-proof margin. With eight votes, the board could override the veto.

The new law, which San Francisco officials hope other cities will adopt in battling a child obesity epidemic, was a defeat for McDonald's, which led the fight against the measure.

"As previously stated, we are extremely disappointed with this decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," said McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud.

Proud said public opinion is against such government intervention.

"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 one percent milk, 100 percent apple juice and Chicken McNuggets made with white meat," Proud said in a statement. "And, as we have stated all along, we are committed to doing even more."

The new law addresses how toys and other marketing freebies entice kids to buy fast-food meals that are high in fat and calories, said Supervisor Eric Mar. He initiated the proposal because his fifth-grade daughter is in the 6-to-11 age group that has seen obesity rates quadruple over the past 30 years, the same time that the Happy Meal has been on the market.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. kathy

    i have worked for a major fast food industry for 14 year's and when did it become our responsibility to control what kid's ate and how much. being a parent myself it was our responsibility to control what we allowed our kid's to eat which had nothing to do with the toy in the happy meal's. last time i knew it was called parenting hmmm...

    November 11, 2010 at 7:07 am |
  2. Mike W.

    Wow... Okay, can we just fence in California and pretend that it doesn't exist?

    November 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Chuck

    Again, this comes down to the gov doing the work of the parents. You don't feed your kid a steady diet of fast food, let him sit on the couch and not expect him to get fat. The cause is not McDonalds, it's crappy parenting skills.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Russ


    I am disappointed that the report on Sarah Palin vs. the Fed was report insinuating that inflation was a bad thing. That Americans have a right to be afraid. You and everyone on the program failed to report the real issues. You still are giving Sarah the rock star spotlight and once again missing the point. It would help if you explained to the majority of Americans who don't understand what inflation vs. recession really means to them. I hope you are really one of the good guys who is fighting the good fight for working families and small businesses. However everyone on the panel during that show looked as though they were defending big money. Again I would like to express my disappointment.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  5. Christina, Windber, PA

    Is this the same city that fought to legalize marijuana use? Go figure!

    November 10, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  6. Augsbee

    These people are so ridiculous, they really think a toy is to blame for obesity???? These are the same people that wanted marijuana be made available in stores!!!!! It's more like Toys vs Marijuana in San Francisco!!!! Yet they're okay with kids getting their hands on marijuana. Talk about a dysfunctional group of people in California.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  7. Charles Carr

    This is another example of local government over stepping its boundaries! If the federal authorities had thought that this was bad trade practice (putting toy in Happy Meal) they would have done something on national front! Far as the enticement of the toy, it's the parents responsibility to ensure their child is eating right! Let's leave the toys in the Happy Meals! You can always give the toys back!

    November 10, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  8. Jim Short

    Another government regulation for a new Socialist USA. McDonalds should simply remove the meal and add a desert. Then, masively advertise "Free mystery desert with every Happy Meal!" Every law passed has unintended consequences.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  9. Zion

    I will like to comment that children obesity is not about toys on happy meals, its about nutritious food not being affordable and responsible parents.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:10 am |