Happy Meal Ban in San Francisco is Official

Happy Meal littering the sidewalk

San Francisco’s city Board of Supervisors overrode Mayor Newsom’s veto, making the Happy Meal ban official.

McDonald’s fought hard and even went so far as to make some outrageous claims to sway public opinion, but in the end the Board of Supervisors overrode the veto 8 to 3.

The ban’s supporters say that Happy Meals and marketing schemes like it prey on kids by offering toys. In fact, the ban doesn’t really even outlaw Happy Meals – just the toy. Here are some specifics from the ban’s official summary:

To provide an incentive item, meals must contain fruits and vegetables, not exceed 600 calories or 200 calories for a single food item and must not have beverages that have excessive fat or sugar.

Opponents argue that this is yet another nanny law and that the government should leave kids’ food choices up to parents.

What do you think?

[Via: EcoLocalizer.]

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by loop_oh

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Author: Becky Striepe

    • Freedom means a reality where individuals will make good and bad decisions. Freedom is not and never has been a utopian concept. It’s time for the modern liberal (who is fact in the direct opposite of what liberalism meant classically) to admit that he believes not in freedom, but instead in a coercive collectivism. He believes that the ends justify the means and that the individual exists for the community, and not vice versa. Interesting that he always sees himself as clever enough to make the “right decisions”, and it‘s always the other guy who must be protected/ruled by state authority.

  1. What a sad day. WHEN are we going to start placing the blame on the adults? Parents – those are the people who should be making better choices for their children and the food that they eat. Bug Govt / Lawmakers are NOT your mommy. People have got to become responsible individuals – Also, what about those of us with skinny children? I have a daughter who has to eat extra calories and fat just to stay on track with her weight. Not everyone abuses food or their children by feeding them crap. McD’s in moderation won’t hurt anyone.

    • Very correct. If they think this is going to solve the problem or start a revolution I think they are barking up the wrong cheeseburger. Good job San Fran. 1 down 900,000 to go. Good luck with that!

    • I don’t know about “bug” government, but no, Big Government isn’t your mommy – but way too often – mommy isn’t doing her job and may not even know any better. And no, people aren’t going to suddenly become “responsible” when they have not been their whole lives.

      So – what should we do? Just let them fatten up, shorten their lives, and in the process, add to everyone elses healthcare cost?

      The number of obese children I see running around is appalling. Do we just ignore it? The government will have no REASON to get involved in these issues when parents DO start taking responsibility.

      But, THEY WON’T.

  2. Duh, Thanks. Next; no shoes with laces… you might trip and fall. No meat allowed without less than 20 percent fat. No cooked veggies, not healthy. Ridiculous !!! Where does it stop ‘Big Brother’.

  3. Despite them saying they should leave meal choices up to parents, they’re still just using that as a smokescreen to sell more stuff to kids. Most parents (myself included, ashamedly) don’t spend enough time with their kids helping them choose healthier food.

    Good job, San Fran! Let’s hope the other cities and states follow suite.

  4. banning the happy meal? thats a load of bulls*** I’m 51 years old and look at all the “dangers” I have lived through, lead painted cribs no seatbelts drinking the cream off the top of the milk that was delivered in glass bottles to our back door, after working in my back yard washing up with gas to kill the poision ivy i’m still alive and kicking give me a brake!

  5. Don’t the parents buy the food for their kids or do they send them out to fend for themselves?
    Predatory marketing? On whom? The Parents?
    This ban will not make victims of poor parenting skinny.

  6. I love San Francisco. Don’t stop now. Target all the brands out there doing the same thing. We should not smiply expect people to make right decisions, because they can’t when they are addicted to making bad choices. We should create legislation that mandates good choices and forces big greedy corporations to provide something to the public out of real need not just because they can sell it and turn a profit.

    • BS…It is not the governments job to babysit consumers…if that is truely your opinion then you should move to some other country and leave the US alone…YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE COMMON SENSE AND IT ISN’T THE GOVERNMENTS JOB TO TRY ! ! !

  7. BUTT OUT…since when is it the governments job to decide what my or any ones kids will or won’t eat…if they are allowed to outlaw or ‘ban’ something on McDonalds menue how long before they attempt to enter the grocery store and ‘ban’ something THEY deam unhealthy…kids are parents responsibility not the governments…and there are still idiots that think this is not becomming more socialist…what will be next

  8. hmmm..idiots.. my kids are 12 and eat fast food once or twice a year.
    Predatory marketing? YOUR THE PARENT YOU TELL YOUR CHILD NO!

    I dont know but it works at my house.

  9. David… Since you saiy ” We should not simply expect people to make right decision…” who then should make the decisions? The government? Are they not people also? You cannot legislate decision making. It is an obsurd notion. The members of San Francisoc who voted for this should resign in disgrace, they do not have the right to tell anyone what can or cannot be bought with the money earned by the people. It is not corporations that are greedy . It is EVERYONE. That includes these moron in San Francisco who are greedy for POWER.

  10. Yes, the amnesty city of S.F. enforcing their morality upon their citizens and businesses. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Maybe if SF wasn’t so damn expensive families who are just skating by wouldn’t be forced to eat at McDonald’s. Then again, if I had stayed in my old neighborhood (Noe Valley) where there used to be (if memory serves) a Bell Market, now a Whole Foods, I probably couldn’t afford that either. S.F., you have bigger problems and should stop telling businesses (profit-motivated ones at that-go figure) what they should do or not do. The board of Supervisors should get off their asses once a week and personally clean up Market Street and the Tenderloin instead.

  11. I think banning Happy Meals is just plain dumb, It is the parents job to choose what to feed their child. Does San Francisco not have any more pressing issues to fight than that. Where will this stop? I mean what else is there that you a city can take away the rights of parents to parent their children, Get a grip San Francisco,


    Ever think $2.00 McDonalds roadkill is all some can afford for their kids perhaps if homeless, in a shelter, struggling, below poverty, or breaking their backs for $8.00 at Safeway and can’t even afford to buy the food their.

    Now little precious impoverished disadvantaged kids will get a McDouble for $1 – sans the toy. Nice. Take the toy away. They’re still gonna get nuggets.

    • I do agree that the alternatives for some people are limited. We do need to make fresh and healthy food alternatives available to poor communities.

      However, there are lots of middle class children eating fast food and overweight as well.

      I guess my point is this is not just isolated to the poor. Another thing is there are usually cheaper healthier options as well. It just may require a little more leg work to find them.

      [oh – I do not agree with the ban either]

      • That’s an interesting point about cheaper, healthier options! I think that’s where education comes in. Many parents won’t and many others just don’t have the time to suss out healthy alternatives to fast food.

  13. Yes, the food choices are left up to the parents, that being said our national childhood obesity epidemic has affected over 50% of children, nation-wide. So, needless to say, parents aren’t making the best decisions for their children. So that leaves it up to the powers-that-be to do it for them. Good for San Fran. I just hope other cities follow suite.

    • Although I understand the sense of urgency and concern, bans are not solutions. In my professional opinion poor food quality became a problem because americans demanded more of it and in super size. Therefore eliminating the fast food is just masking a symptom.

      The problem is the thinking behind eating fast food. If we can start changing people’s way of thinking and then change their actions, we could start truly changing the food market.

  14. Not that I like McDonalds, I think they have crap for food. But what ever happened to personal responsibility in this country? Growing up I never visited a fast food restaurant, my parents thought the food was no good, and they were right. I don’t believe we are so stupid that the government should control everything.

  15. Finally the junk foods start they way down in our diet. Every food whit additive and chemicals need to ban forever. People try to eat real foods not plasics !!!!! I would like to hear more succes about this in very short time, people need to live in happiness and witout diseases.

  16. Just another example of liberal politicians thinking they know what’s best for people. McDonald’s has a right to sell Happy Meals. Ultimately, it’s the parents responsibility not to let their kids eat fatty, unhealthy foods. The government needs to keep their noses out of things like this.

    • And if parents do not live up to this responsibility? Children do not have the maturity to make good choices about their own diet. I would love to believe their parents do, but not all adults are perfect. I don’t like bans and rules, but I prefer this to the alternative.

      • If parents are not making healthy decisions then a community needs to come together and help educate each other such as this website. The problem right now is there are more fast food commercials/ads than healthy or organic commercials. As americans we need to collectively make different consumer decisions to change the way companies sell food.

        Bans and rules are not teaching people anything. It is just enabling people to remain ignorant and not recognize their responsibilities and decisions.

  17. This is BS! SHAME on you San Francisco! Parents, don’t let the gov. tell you how to feed your kids. Stop letting them take away your parental rights and stop letting them tell you what to buy and not buy and stop sticking their nose in the practice of private businesses! The clowns who passed this law should be voted out!

  18. If the free market demanded it, there would be a place to drive through and get a Tahini sandwich on 9 grain bread, and a “Play Place” with giveway toys made from hemp. Of course, every Garden Whopper would cost $18 and the toys would have to be given back for recycling at the feeding period.

    • I’m not sure I fully agree here. The supply and demand bit holds water, but the rest just sounds like a little resentment toward folks trying to make a difference. There are fast food places now that have veggie burgers, and there are plenty of sit down vegetarian and vegan places where the food is very reasonably priced. Loving Hut is a great example.

      As for the toy, I’d love to see kids getting toys made from healthy materials like hemp or organic cotton rather than plastics loaded with things like BPA and phthalates.

        • Interesting point, and I definitely see where you’re coming from, Vines N Cattle. I always appreciate your perspective.

          My comment was more directed at the dig at hemp toys and veggie burgers. I know that John was just being snarky, but I’d rather see kids playing with safe toys made from sustainable, healthy materials like the one he describes in his comment.

          I don’t agree that a veggie burger or other healthier meal would necessarily cost $18, with or without tahini and a hemp toy, though.

  19. I am sick of people blaming fast food places for their kids being fat. Last time I checked it was the parents responibility to control what their kids eat. I bet if those kids got off their butts and went out and played outside instead of playing video games all day they’d burn off some of that fat. Parents should star…t taking care of their kids and stop laying blame on big corporations for their laziness.

  20. Yes, children’s diets should be parental responsibility. But if parents aren’t exercising their responsibility in a responsible manner then help is needed. In a country where many adults choose fast food as their way of eating, and childhood obesity is rising to an alarming level, maybe the people of the country need some help. That’s how I see this “ban”.
    It’s all very well for parents who prepare good meals for the children to say this is nonsense.
    But they are able to be responsible, they have learned how to cook.
    There’s a huge population out there that doesn’t have that knowledge or ability, and they and their children need all the help they can get.

  21. Although I am all for eating healthy, I do not agree with this ban. Instead of holding parents responsible and educating parents, we simply ban. This is not teaching anyone anything. This is not improving our ignorance, but simply eliminating freedom of choice.

    If Americans quite buying and eating unhealthy food, it would not be made. It is simple supply and demand. We need to change the way Americans think and live to really change the food market. Reactive legislation including banning are not solutions.

  22. First of all I really think it is a dumb thing to do! I have a son and he has eaten a happy meal only once in his life. I explained to him the difference between a “fast food meal” and a balanced home cooked meal and it’s pros and cons. He’s now 20 and has never gone back to Mc Donalds because it taste oily! I can’t comment on other people because some people has to work and they don’t have the time or luxury to provide their kids that way. You can’t stop people from giving you freebies or discounts just to buy their product! It’s our responsiblity and our right! What happened to freedom of choice? Next they will want to stop supermarkets from selling chocolates, ice cream, and meat with fat in it! So what next!

  23. i think that law is a good idea because i was doing a research on child obesity and i didnt know it was that bad. Many kids like to go to McD just because they have a toy then they get ustu to it and wanna go more and more then when they grow older they might now want a toy then but they would want the food. And the problem is not just getting fat but some toys have small pieces and kids eat them and then it brings more trouble. I might not know a lot cuz im still in high school but i do know what i believe in.

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