San Francisco Cracks Down on Happy Meal Toys

McDonalds_Happy_MealThe days of the Happy Meal toys are numbered, at least in San Francisco.

The city’s Board of Supervisors has approved a law that would prevent restaurants from giving away free toys with kid’s meals that are considered unhealthy. The legislation, which passed on an 8-3 vote, makes San Francisco the first major city to approve such a law amid rising obesity rates among children. The ordinance will take effect on December 1 next year, giving restaurants over a year to change their menus for children in order to continue using the effective marketing strategy of giving free toys.

Under the law, restaurants may still give free toys with their children’s meals, such as McDonald’s popular Happy Meal, as long as the food contains fruits and vegetables. The meal must also contain no more than 600 calories. Legislation sponsor Eric Mar of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors said the measure is a “challenge” to restaurants to serve healthier food. However, McDonald’s, the main opponent of the law, said the measure is “not what our customers want.” “Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s,” company spokeswoman Danya Proud said.