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Happy Meals Outlawed!

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user
Christina Kennedy, CC Licensed

I'm never been enamored of those little plastic toys that come with my kids' lunch. When they were really little, they never even made it out of McDonald's. I'd secretly stuff them in the trash as we left, and they never noticed. Now, at 7 and 11, they do notice, and in fact collect them. I find them littered all over the car, the bathroom...I've even stepped on them in bare feet in the middle of the night...which hurts, though you probably know that. But the idea of banning the iconic Happy Mealmakes even me a little melancholy. Yet it appears that's what actually happened today in San Francisco.

Lawmakers there passed legislation that would preclude restaurants from serving packaged meals that include a toy, unless they meet certain nutritional guidelines about calories, sodium, and fat. The guidelines also require that a serving of fruit or vegetable be included. So, essentially, the Happy Meal as it currently exists can no longer be sold once the law takes effect in December 2011.

So McDonald's has two choices: reformulate the Happy Meal for their San Francisco customers, or sell it without a toy. Which kind of makes it not a Happy Meal.

This legislation has enough support that the Governor can't veto it, so it's a done deal.

What do you think? Is this a great step towards fighting childhood obesity, and all cities should adopt it? Or is it a little too controlling? If you want to give your kid a meal with fries AND a toy, that should be up to you?