San Francisco: Just sell them a toy with a meal

Posted by & filed under Oddities, Politics.

So, in all that excitement of elections (and push-back from general public to the ideas that Democrats attempted to bring to life), San Francisco went and earned itself another merit badge of “How Not To Do Things”.
This time they made a law that bans McDonald’s Happy Meal starting from December 1st.

As usual, all of this is presented as “caring for citizens/children”. The fact that they decided to have “food justice” before resolving, say, budget problems, speaks something about the priorities. You don’t have enough money to pay for roads and schools, and yet you’re worrying about how to force people stop giving children happy meals with toys.

It’s not a ban it’s “an incentive” (Ha-ha-ha), proponents of the ban say. Unless happy meal has less than 600 calories, fewer than 640 milligrams of salt and less than 35% of calories from “unhealthy fat”, toy is not allowed. I fail to see why, say, 300 calories worth of nuts could be different from a cheeseburger from the obesity point of view.

Well, let’s have a look at current nutrition info for Happy Meals. 9 calories per gram of fat means 23g of fat per happy meal.
Out of the list we get the following conforming choices:
– Chicken McNuggets (4pc) with Apple Dippers – all four qualify
– Hamburger with Apple Dippers with Low Fat Caramel Dip, Apple Juice Box (6.75 fl oz) or Sprite

So the choice will be cut down to 6 Happy meals with toys. Will that stop parents from getting french fries in addition to the meal with toy and giving child some? Of course not.
Will that stop the epidemic of obesity in children? Ha-ha-ha-ha. It won’t.

It does show that authors of the law believe that parents can’t resist child’s desire for a toy (and buy a kid something better than a happy meal). But that’s typical. When public doesn’t want to go the “healthy” route, it needs to be forced. That’s why alcohol and tobacco are illegal. Oh… wait… Hm… How about disallowing chocolate? No? Cheese, that has enough calories to make a nutritional expert faint? Nope. Outlawing fried chicken? Not so far.

But I’m sure not that far behind.

What I hope McDonalds (and other fast food establishments) will do, is simply sell a toy. And, along with a toy, offer a “Free Meal” coupon. That way the ordinance is not broken (no free toy, gotta pay for it), parents have a new tiny trinkets for screaming kids, and those who just want to give child a toy, and not 800mg of sodium, won’t have to “cash in” that coupon. Except, you know, even before you could buy kids a toy and throw away the happy meal. Which never happens.

Or stop offering milk and switch to diet soda. Less calories and sodium — better “cushion”. I can imagine howls of the Board of Supervisors, where healthy option (milk) is swapped out for fizzy drink (no sugar, but if someone will claim it’s better for a kid to drink soda than milk… well…). You wanted better choices? You’ll get different choices, those that public can live with.

Will see where this madness leads…

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