Nanny staters and McDonald’s Happy Meals just don’t mix. In California, the obesity police have been trying to ban Happy Meals for quite some time now. New York has taken this to an extreme — while they haven’t banned Happy Meal (yet), the bureaucrats there are crusading against trans fats, salt, and anything else they deem not good for you. San Francisco bureaucrats have jumped on the bandwagon, banning restaurants from giving children toys with unhealthy food. Basically, they’ve specifically targeted — and banned — Happy Meals. After all, why should idiotic ignorant parents get to decide what their children do and do no eat?
San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to pass a law that cracks down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed the law on Tuesday on a veto-proof 8-to-3 vote. It takes effect on December 1. The law, like an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, would require that restaurant kids’ meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.
Opponents of the law include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald’s Corp, which used its now wildly popular Happy Meal to pioneer the use of free toys to market directly to children. “We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement. “Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s,” Proud said.
The San Francisco law would allow toys to be given away with kids’ meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar. Backers of the ordinance say it aims to promote healthy eating habits while combating childhood obesity. “Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color,” said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure. “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,” Mar said.
It’s not a challenge to the restaurant industry, it’s a mandate. And it should be offensive to anyone who values the right of a business owner to operate their business as they see fit … or to any parents who think they should be allowed to raise their children as they see fit. The ever-intrusive nanny state is greedily gobbling up control of our lives, all in the name of what is “good for us.” They’re just much smarter than us ignoramuses, so we should let them tell us what we can and can’t do, right?
Are McDonald’s Happy Meals healthy? No, not really. But there are healthier options for parents to choose. Isn’t that a great word, choose? See, the way it works is, parents can go to McDonald’s and choose whether or not they want to give their child fries or apple slices. McDonald’s does not leave Happy Meal toys littered on the street in a complicated ploy to snatch children, drag them into McDonald’s, and force-feed them fries.
Case in point: myself.