Happy Meal Ban on San Francisco's Plate Today

Categories: Government, Health
Will we hear from them during public comment? How about the Fry Guys?
Supervisor Eric Mar's proposal to take the toys away from Happy Meal-like menu items that don't meet city-imposed nutrition standards ignited an Internet firestorm. Today we'll see if it can do the same in the flesh.

The "Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance" gets its first public airing today at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting. McDonald's is planning a publicity blitz both prior to and during today's 1 p.m. meeting -- and has taken out a full-page ad in the Chronicle. In San Francisco, however, a billion-dollar corporation expressing righteous indignation may be just the approach to push locals into supporting truly questionable legislation.

You! Cut it out!
Should San Francisco's Happy Meal legislation find its way into law, it won't be the first municipality to yank the toys away from fatty restaurant meals. In April, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors did just that.

That isn't mentioned within Mar's legislation. But this curious statistic is: "According to 2003-2004 data, San Franciscans consume over one-third of their food, as measured by weight, at fast food and pizza restaurants."

Say what?

Update, 5:30 p.m.: After more than three hours of discussion, the item was continued to next week. Linshao Chin, a legislative aide for Mar, noted the following four amendments to the legislation:

  • The required vegetable serving has been lowered from 3/4 of a cup to half a cup;

  • A requirement that no item in the meal exceed 200 calories was nixed;

  • A 'mulitgrain amendment' was added;

  • A requirement mandating breakfasts to have half a cup of fruit and half a cup of vegetables was lowered to just requiring fruit.

"Typically, many people might not eat vegetables for breakfast," explains Chin. She notes, however that potatoes are a vegetable, and there is no requirement on how potatoes must be cooked -- but says that no one is suggesting french-fried potatoes are a vegetable. Well, odder things have happened.

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