Happy Meals aren’t so “happy” in this California county

This week Santa Clara County, California became the first in the nation to ban toys from fast food kids’ meals high in calories, fat, salt and sugar.  The ordinance will ban restaurants from giving away toys with meals that have more than 485 calories, more than 600 milligrams of sodium, or high amounts of sugar or fat. County supervisor Ken Yeager was quoted as saying the ordinance “prevents restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids’ meals,” and would help fight childhood obesity.

According to county officials, this ban would affect restaurant giant McDonald’s who is famous for their Happy Meal toys.  The limits are said to include all of the chain’s Happy Meals — even those that include apple wedges instead of French fries.

Personally I am not sure how local politicians decided to make themselves the toy police.  I don’t think the exclusion of a Happy Meal toy is going to stop kids from eating at McDonald’s either.  I am interested to know what you think.  Do you think this move will help curb childhood obesity or have local lawmakers gone too far?

Weigh in your opinion!


3 Responses to “Happy Meals aren’t so “happy” in this California county”

  1. 1 Christy M April 29, 2010 at 12:34 am

    This is misguided and heavy-handed. First of all, I would take my kids to McDonald’s now and again with or without the prize (it’s not the kids doing the shopping, people). Second, the issue isn’t that McDonald’s has food that isn’t healthy. Can we focus on the real issues here? And lastly, why should the local government be so focused on something so trivial when there are such bigger issues at hand?

  2. 2 Erin Pyle (@erinjeany) April 29, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I think that is a bit silly. Parents are the ones responsible for buying their children these meals. Not including toys is not going to stop parents from feeding their children McDonalds. We eat McDonalds maybe once a month while we are out doing errands or what not, but it’s not to get the toy, it’s because it’s convenient to grab a few orders of fries and eat on the run. I am a smart enough parent to realize that it shouldn’t count as my son’s meal and sure I could bring fruit or something with us to snack on instead, but we enjoy the occasional treat of McDonalds fries.

    When you buy a happy meal the toys are included in the price of the meal. So since you are charged for them are they going to lower prices of those meals that cannot now come with toys? Parents who want the kids to have the toys are going to still buy the toys regardless. They are just going to buy the meals, then buy a toy separately! I do it all the time. I don’t buy happy meals when we buy our fries, I just pay the $1 and change and give Elijah the toy.

    If they want to do something to help combat obesity maybe they need to come up with a plan to introduce healthier options, instead of taking away the toys.

    Thanks for sharing this! 🙂


  3. 3 Stefany @ ToBeThode April 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    This is just stupid I think. My kids will still want McDonald’s, with or without the toys. Who thought that by taking away the toy the kids would eat healthier? I mean, sometimes the toy is the only reason I can get my kids to eat at all. I can’t tell you how many times I bribed my kids to eat their apples by telling them they will get their toy when they are done! haha!

    I won’t be winning mother of the year awards or anything but whatever. My kids are happy and healthy. McDonalds every once in awhile isn’t going to change that… and toys don’t make a difference either way!

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