Are happy meals about to get a little less happy?
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) is set to introduce a bill today banning toys from kids’ meals at fast-food restaurants, unless the meals meet certain nutritional standards.
“The City Council can empower parents by making it harder for the fast food industry to target children with predatory marketing techniques,” Comrie said, who he himself is overweight.
He said banning toys reduces the appeal of the kids’ meals and encourages healthier options. San Francisco passed a similar bill last year.
Under Comrie’s proposal, in order to include a toy, a meal would need fewer than 500 total calories, fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium and less than 35 percent calories from fat, among other requirements. Eateries would be fined up to $2,500 for breaking the rules.
McDonald’s, the assumed target of the bill, said banning toys won’t solve childhood obesity.
“On average, kids eat at McDonald’s about three times a month; that means about 87 other meals are eaten at home, school or elsewhere. That adds up to a discussion larger than toys,” said Mason Smoot, a McDonald’s spokesman.