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article imageA sad, sad day for the Happy Meal and its toys

By Matt Harding     Apr 27, 2010 in Food
Santa Clara - A lot of sad kids will soon be seen in Santa Clara County's McDonald's restaurants. So, why are Happy Meals to blame for all the long faces?
Officials in Santa Clara County, California voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children’s meals, including the McDonald's Happy Meals.
The banning of toys with high-calorie children's meals, which only includes parts of Santa Clara County, will be in affect unless restaurants meet nutritional guidelines approved by the county's Board of Supervisors.
One board member, Supervisor Donald Gage, voted against the measure saying parents should be responsible for their children.
"If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers," he said. Gage is overweight and said he was a living example of how obese children can become obese adults.
On the other side of the spectrum, Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure, had this to say:
"This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's' love of toys" to sell high-calorie, unhealthful toys.This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes."
The board, whose jurisdiction extends only to the unincorporated parts of the county, voted 3 to 2 in favor of the ban after a contentious meeting that included more than an hour of testimony on both sides.
The toys, however, will not disappear immediately. As a compromise to win majority support, the five-member board agreed to put off the measure for 90 days, allowing the fast-food industry time to come up with a program improving the nutritional value of kid's meals.
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