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The San Francisco Happy Meals ban
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Roy Benaroch, MD posted:
The mayor of SF has veto'ed the ban:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/12/BAKL1GBDI5.DTL

Though known as a "happy meals ban", what the law actually said was that restaurants could not give away toys with meals unless he meals themselves met strict nutritional rules-- basically, junk food wouldn't qualify. So, in effect, the iconic McDonald's "happy meal" could still be sold, but it could not include a toy.

Some people felt that this was an unnecessary intrusion into family decisions. Others felt that McDonalds was unfairly inducing the youngest, most vulnerable "consumers" into craving their food, not by making their food tasty, but by promising a fun toy to go with it. And McDonalds certainly knows that if they get little kids used to their "food", many of those kids will continue to be McDonalds patrons for the rest of their lives.

What do you think? Should city governments try to clamp down on these kind of marketing tactics? Or should parents be the ones to "just say no"?
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nnegron1 responded:
I don't think the government should step in and tell parents what they are or are not allowed to feed their children. Unless it is in a school environment where the government pays for the food that it is putting on the table of the children. However, I think it is unfair to say that McDonalds is inducing the youngest to get their food because of a toy. The kids can't buy the food without the parent, so it is the job of the parent to step in and decide what to get the child. I mean, if they are at McDonalds anyways, what's the point? We all know you don't go to a fast food joint to eat healthy food. It is the job of the parent to decide what to feed their child and to allot the correct portions for it. The nice thing about the McDonalds meals now is that they give you substitutions for fries and soda, which I think is a big step in the right direction.

If we allow the government to step in and decide what we can or cannot feed our kids, that makes it look like we are not only incapable of making good parenting decisions, but also allowing the government more control of the choices that we should be able to make as citizens of the USA. Can we say we're getting closer and closer to Big Brother?
 
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FCL replied to nnegron1's response:
I always thought that the toy in a happy meal was intended to keep the child occupied while the parents ate anyway :) NOT to tempt them to eat there...
 
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seeit2 responded:
Seriously? The government telling me what I can and can't buy my kids? No. If I want to feed my kids crappy food then that is my business. And frankly, we live in a capitalistic society. Business will do what it does in order to sell things. That does not mean you have to go out and actually buy it.

It is interesting though that school lunches are so bad and the state has no interest in actually doing anything to fix that (I know, they talk about it, but aside from moving the coke machines or putting the brownies in the back of the display, no one does anything about it)....but they will tell me what I can and cannot provide in the home.
 
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QueenOfStarWars replied to seeit2's response:
Good point, seeit2 (hey there!). School lunches are horrible for kids and they want to mess around with a stupid happy meal? A meal that is consciously chosen by a parent for their child?

When I was little, the happy meal came with a toy. So if mommy allows you a traditional happy meal once in a while, you're banned from getting the prize? Ridiculous.
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to QueenOfStarWars's response:
Update: Though the Mayor veto'ed the bill, the San Fran City Council has now overridden the veto. No free toys with Happy Meals in SF now:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/11/23/california.happy.meals.ban/?hpt=T2
 
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Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
Thank you for the update Dr. Benaroch. :)


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