There are so many ways to go with a story about the San Francisco city council caring so much for children that they’ve banned McDonald’s Happy Meals, or any other meals with toys for children, unless they meet certain nutritional standards.
But I’m going to resist the most tempting remarks and only suggest that this is an absurd use of government to address a real problem (childhood obesity) that parents can and should handle. Does anyone really believe that parents who allow their children to fatten up on Happy Meals aren’t going to find alternative fat grams for their little ones?
Under the law, McDonald’s and other restaurants will have until December 2011 to improve their meals’ nutrition by adding fruits and vegetables — if the chains want to keep offering toys, including those promoting the latest films. The food and beverages will have to contain fewer than 600 calories, and less than 35 percent of total calories will come from fat. The meal must contain half a cup of fruit and three-fourths cup of vegetables, and offer less than 640 milligrams of sodium and less than 0.5 milligrams of trans fat. Breakfast will have the option of offering half cups of fruit or vegetables.
It’s a misuse of government, and a showy action that simply won’t work.
(I see that Super Nanny has retired from her TV show; perhaps the SF city council should replace her).