Eric Mar Unleashes on the Happy Meal. But What About Public School Lunches?

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Public Enemy No. 1?
San Francisco has been abuzz about Supervisor Eric Mar's proposed legislation that would take the toy out of the Happy Meal. Some say it would improve the health of children. Others say it's like, totally socialist. Our online news editor, Joe Eskenazi, found it a little disturbing

But still-not-a-City Bright Greg Dewar may have made the best point yet. He wonders, why promote kids' health by regulating private businesses that pair toys with food when the city's public school lunches are notoriously unhealthy? Dewar's blog links to a powerful video created in 2009 by students craving fresh lunches at Lowell High School. Instead, the video explains, they're getting lots of defrosted pizza, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheese. That's college food, dammit!



"This pizza and chicken nuggets is the best possible meal I can deliver for the price," Ed Wilkins, director of student nutrition for the district, explains in the video.

Mar, who was once on San Francisco's school board, acknowledged that school lunches aren't yet what they should be. Due to fiscal constraints, the public schools in the city now contract out a lot of their food services, which leads to frozen, less-than-healthy options. 

Is Mar then grandstanding about fast-food toys when he should be looking more at school lunches? The supervisor says no. "I have focused on [healthy school lunches] as a school board member and continue to focus on it," he said.

"San Francisco is seen by other districts as a major leader in choices" he said of the school district's lunches. He cited the healthy vending machine policy and numerous salad bars across the district as examples.

Fair enough. But frozen pizza, grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets all week certainly seems like a bigger problem than a toy with a happy meal on Saturday.

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