Nanny state Happy Meal police prepare to strike again

Posted by: ST on August 13, 2010 at 10:27 am

This time in – where else? – San Francisco (via William Teach):

A serious move is afoot to force fast-food giants to make kids meals more nutritionally viable if they want to sell them with kid-luring toys.

In San Francisco, newly proposed legislation would ban toys from most kids meals sold at McDonald’s, Burger King and other chains unless the meals meet more stringent calorie and sodium limits. The legislation also would require fruit or veggies in each meal.

The $179 billion fast-food industry is watching with intense interest — aware that menu-labeling requirements that started locally in New York City several years ago have since been copied regionally and will become federal law in 2014 under the health care act.

Kids meals rank among fast food’s big sales catalysts. Although kids meal sales are declining — because budget-minded parents sometimes opt for dollar menu items instead — the industry sold about $5.5 billion worth last year, researcher NPD Group reports.

Nothing gets kids more excited about eating out than a kids meal with a toy. That’s what 36% of kids under age 6 say they like best about eating out, NPD reports. That compares with 16% who like the food best.


“There’s no fundamental conflict between a healthy meal and a happy meal,” says Rajiv Bhatia, environmental health director for San Francisco.

He says chains could easily conform by making relatively small changes in ingredients or portion size, reducing the number of french fries, or replacing fries with veggies, fruit or salad.

But McD’s already HAS that option, nitwit. Oh, that’s right. This isn’t really about “options” for leftist nanny staters in CA. It’s about YOU having to conform to THEIR standards of what is “good and wholesome” for kids to eat. Instead of you having the option of getting fries OR apple slices in your child’s meal, or choose milk over a soda, restaurants MUST ONLY offer fruit or salad. And as far as portion size goes, has anyone checked out a Happy Meal lately? The portion size seems just fine to me.

And I’d like to ask questions of any parents out there who might be reading. When you buy a Happy Meal for your child, do they even eat the whole thing? It’s been my experience when sitting in a McD’s that the kids eat about a third of the meal, and spend the rest of their time either playing with the toy, fidgeting with a napkin, or are wanting to go out and play on the McD’s outdoor playset. In fact, the “eating the third of the meal” thing doesn’t just apply to Happy Meals. Everytime I go into any restaurant, whether it is via a fast food establishment or a more “fine dining” establishment, the kids rarely sit still long enough in their seats to eat their full meal. Is that your experience, too?

In reality, what places like SF and Santa Clara County, CA want it to appear as though they are doing something about the “child obesity” problem and they do so by trying to control your choices about your kids eating options – in the true liberal fashion of wanting to “feel” like they’re doing something good “for the children.” Some people might not think it’s a big deal. “Hey, it’s just a Happy Meal” but you know as well as I do, that if you start giving this “I know better for you how your child should eat” crowd an inch, they will take miles. Heck, they are starting to do this with adults, too!

It’s one thing to limit options in a public school environment where the kids have to make the choices themselves as to what to eat at the lunch counter – and of course states are rapidly coming to the mindset that if they’re going to feed kids they’re going to offer more healthy options, but it’s another thing to take the control out of the hands of parents when they and their children walk into a restaurant to place an order.

What do you think?

Unhappy Meal

Please - save me!

(Photo hat tip: Eat, Drink, and Be)


RSS feed for comments on this post.


17 Responses to “Nanny state Happy Meal police prepare to strike again”


  1. Zippy says:

    Right here in Jersey Wendy’s even has healthy options. The fact remains, fast food shouldn’t be part of the daily diet but a TREAT folks. *sighs heavily*

    Many schools in these parts don’t even allow cupcakes on birthdays anymore. It’s bagels or fruit. Give me a BREAK!

    Get your hands off my Big Mac and Twinkies mr. gubment! (lc on purpose)

  2. Severian says:

    Eric Hoffer said it best in his book “The True Believer” –

    A man who’s business is not worth minding will console himself by trying to mind yours.

  3. Zippy says:

    Excellent quote Severian!

  4. Petsitter says:

    It’s not about the product being protested, it’s about the MONEY it makes for the company that could/will be used to help fund their political/ ideological OPPONENTS! If you examine who they’ve attacked/ diminished and demonized in the past you’ll see the pattern.

  5. Phineas says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the Bay Area and San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, but the inmates are running (and ruining) the asylum there. :((

  6. Hunter says:

    When I was a kid going to McDonalds was a treat, and it was a big deal to be able to have fries and a soda. It sure wouldn’t have been such a treat to get milk and apple slices.

  7. Dana says:

    It takes a City Council to Raise a Child.

  8. Carlos says:

    “It’s about YOU having to conform to THEIR standards…”

    Now it’s food. It used to be cigarettes. I wonder when they will get around to a full-frontal assault on us evil Christians who believe Christianity is an exclusive belief, and follow the dictates of the Bible? You know that if your beliefs aren’t all-inclusive they have to be wrong, and if they’re wrong the guvmint has to do something about it.

    Just ask any lib/leftist/socialist/nutwing/intelligencia/arrogancia. They obviously know how to run everyone else’ life better than their own. And excellent quote, Sev.

  9. Zippy says:

    *puts all the old McDonald’s toys on ebay and sells them as ancient artifacts of a once great civilation*

  10. Lorica says:

    I find it odd that the left is more concerned about saving our children from Mikkey D’s, than they are from any given child molester. It wasn’t a happy meal that abducted Johnny Gosch or Eugene Martin. – Lorica

  11. Bryn says:

    So kids should eat healthy to live longer. Social security, medicare and government employee pensions would all be more solvent if people didn’t live as long. At what point do we stop promoting longevity as the ultimate goal, when life expectancy reaches 120?

  12. neomom says:

    My kids rarely eat the entire meal. Ever.

    If we are doing the McD’s thing because of it simply being a time-saver or convenience, we do the apples/milk. If it is for being a good kid/special treat we do the fries and Hi-C.

    All this nanny-state stuff is driving me nuts. From the NC attempt at banning chocolate milk and limiting juice at daycare centers to the laws about booster seats and hot tubs. It is increasingly more annoying.

  13. MissJean says:

    Total disclosure: I’ve been going to McDonald’s at least once a week this past month. I’ve been on the road a lot.

    I eat Happy Meals. The hamburgers or nuggets are just the right amount. I get the apples (skipping the carmel – yuck!) and milk or juice. I put the toys in a bag or box and periodically drop them off at a church. (Except I kept a weird dragon and a mini-watercannon. They totally suit my office.)

    Honestly, when that one guy did the “Supersize Me” documentary, I thought it was so stupid that I tried to sell a magazine a “McSlim Me” article in which I lost weight by ordering salads from McDonald’s (and other fast-food chains). No one wanted it, but I totally became hooked on McD’s apple/walnut salad as a dessert. I make a good knock-off.

    Heck, if my job gets as busy as I expect in the next month, I may do it as a feature on my blog.

    Update: I am going to do it. I’ve got nothing to lose but ugly fat and my already-precarious reputation as a sane adult. :)

  14. Kate says:

    So once again the state should trump the parents. I ask, Who doesn’t know that a constant diet of high fat and sugar are not good for you? Let’s see a hands!! No hands? Okay, everyone knows that…so why do we need to legistlate it?

    If these so called liberals wish to have “free choice” in other life activites, then they must thinks the state cand enforce anything on the people in the name of public health.

    Why aren’t they legislating agains unprotected sex, too? Like boycotting movies that promote young people from having sex? Or any facet of life that presents risk? That would be a public health issues, too, and great for the condom industry that they promote in schools.

  15. Steve Skubinna says:

    I don’t know what is the greater question here:

    What the hell makes these clowns think they have any business in this issue?


    What the hell makes these clowns think they’re qualified to decide what other peoples’ children should eat?

    Ignorance and authority, a terrible combination. And if the moron voters of SF accept this gross overreach, then they deserve it.

  16. Zippy says:

    Go for it MissJean!