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November 4th, 2010
07:21 AM ET

San Francisco to Ban Toys in Unhealthy Kids Meals

San Francisco city officials are toying with popular children’s meals. The city’s Board of Supervisors passed a law cracking down on fast food chains that give away free toys with unhealthy meals for children, like the Mcdonald’s “Happy Meal.” The law would require kid’s meals to meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys. Officials say the law promotes healthy eating habits and combats childhood obesity.

But not everyone agrees. McDonald’s, the National Restaurant Association, and many franchise owners are unhappy with the ordinance. McDonald’s says getting a toy with a kid’s meal is part of the family experience when visiting the restaurant, and they’re just giving the customer what they want.

We want to know what you think... will taking the toy out of kid’s meals help combat obesity, or should restaurants be able to include them in meals? Leave your comments and Kyra Phillips will read some of your responses in the 10am hour of CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Little Sweeter

    When did city officials gain the right to tell parents what we can feed our children? All the child abuse going on in America and they are worried about a HAPPY MEAL with a toy!
    San Francisco city officials are crossing the line here. I urge everyone to stand behind McDonald's and take their children out for a Happy Meal. We have to let elected officials know they are crossing the line when they tell us what we can and can not feed our children.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  2. Dan

    What, the city that is so liberal, where homosexuality is the normal way of life, and an even more liberal judge overturns the votes of the people is concerned about children's health?
    Since when did the city (can you say government?) have a right to raise children for the parents? Pathetic.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  3. Mie

    OK let me see if I understand this. You can't get a happy mean, but there is a marijuana store on every street corner. Are they serious?

    November 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  4. Jon Regas

    I think it's lame to punish the kids by not letting them have a toy for their parent's poor judgemnt to allow their kids to eat fast food regularly

    November 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  5. Jason. Northern Kentucky

    It is not the Governments job to be your kids parents. It is up to you to teach your kids healthy eating habits, and also to not let them eat 700 calorie meals? Be a parent and just say no, it is their life you are saving.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  6. Jerry in Montana

    I have long thought that the fast food industry should pay its fair share of the nation's health care costs. They contribute to obesity by offering lures to the most fatty foods. Most of their young customers will die of diabetes, cancer and heart disease because they continue to claim, "we're just giving people what they want," like drug dealers are giving people what they want.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  7. Marjorie Chatham Nj

    Another benefit to consider by banning the toys in the fast food meals is the environmental one. When buying meals for my children when they were younger I would request the toy not be included feeling it was just more junk to go in the landfills. More plastic seems a high price to pay for 5 minutes of amusement!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  8. Patricia

    I know many families who get McDonalds for their kids once or more a week, collecting every toy that's offered. For my own kids, a McDonald's Happy Meal is a special treat that they get on rare occasions, usually because they did something to earn a reward. My autistic son did very well at the dentist yesterday- usually an extreme battle. I said in front of the dentist if he did well, I would take him to McD's. The dentist said that was a great idea, and it helped motivate him to cooperative with his check-up. Leave the toys in, hope the parents are responsible with the child's overall diet.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  9. Aaron

    I am a Manager for a Quick Service Restaurant Chain. I am glad to hear that someone is taking a stand on this issue. We do not offer toys with our kid's menu. We offer an activity book with crayons. Granted the kids aren't as excited, but are they there to eat, or to be distracted with a toy?? What the issue is, is the parent who allows them to order the meals. Our highest calorie meal for kids is 300 calories. Many times I see the parent allowing their kids to order off the adult menu. Recently a girl of about 8-10 years old ate an entire 980 calorie meal, plus a soda, plus half of a cookie- by the way, the cookie is 564 calories itself. Just because she is drinking a Diet Coke with it doesn't make it right.....

    November 4, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  10. mike

    Legislation that promotes good choices and discourages poor ones is needed in this country more than anything in order to fix the declining health of our country. McDonalds stating that their meals "can be as healthy as a school lunch...” only elaborates on the larger problem with food in this country. If a school lunch is ONLY as healthy as a Happy Meal and you, I and every other taxpayer is subsidizing the program there is a fundamental problem with the system. I for one feel that we should hold McDonalds and other fast food organizations accountable for the predatory practices they use; we did with big tobacco now it’s time for fast food.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  11. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    This is a violation to free enterprize get it . The fast food chain's should just sell the toy aside the meal limit one per meal for 1 cent .

    November 4, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  12. Tammy

    Taking the toys out of the Happy Meals is CRAZY.. Thats not going to stop the parents from going to Mcdonalds and picking up hamburgers, french fries and coke. McDonalds didn't make our kids FAT. If you want to blame it on something, its the computers and games that the kids stay in the house and play instead of going outside and playing in the yard. But I totally understand WHY we CAN't send our kids outside to play. Because of the crazy people that want to grab our kids. Its a shame that you can't even allow our children to go outside and play on the swings cause some sick people. So instead of worring about a TOY in a Happy Meal, they need to find a way to get the sick people off our streets. So our kids can go outside and play, and stay SAFE...

    November 4, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  13. Pete

    I am for this. Look around at children and you will see this is a good idea.They are less phyically active and eat more poorly these days. I am 42. I work with college students and I am in better shape than most of the students around me mostly because of their poor eating and exercise habits. I'm sure a lot of this stimmed from the eating and exercising habits they learned while they were children.

    Mostly though I blame the parents. I am appauled that the news announcers of your show are discussing how much their children would complain if they don't get them the full happy meal. They did mention that there are healthier options like apples or milk but they sounded aftaid of how their kids may react if they got them those healthier options. Who are the parents here and what kind of example are you setting for your millions of viewers? Just tell the children what they can have and can't have. Or you could make a packable meal from home and bring that with you. You are the parent! Be that!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  14. Bill

    Nanny State runnamuck.

    Is there no one left in America who believes in individual freedom and individual choice? Such laws ought to be widely viewed as Orwellian. This NOT a 'suggestion', this is government FORCE against consumer choice and preventing business to compete in the open marketplace for customers. Unfortunately, government is a monopoly whose damage is nearly impossible to reverse once entrenched.

    Off with their heads.


    November 4, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  15. Paul K

    Whatever happened to parental responsilbility? These parents should be making the decision about what their kids eat, not some governmental agency!

    I agree that much of the food served at McDonalds (and other fast food restaurants) is not very healthy but these days, the restaurants do offer healthier selections. I have a 10 yr old and we do not eat at these restaurants because of the high fat content. however, that is MY choice, not McDonalds or some geovernment agency!!

    It's time to stop blaming these restaurants for the obesity problem and make the parents take responsiblity for their child's well being!!! Remember, if you want your child to be healthy, then YOU need to stop letting them sit in front of the TV, eat poorly and make sure they go outside to exercise (and you, the parent could go too)!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  16. aaron

    i think i agree with mcdonalds

    November 4, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  17. tracy

    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! I grew up eating mcdonald's happy meals and getting toys and I am fine! I have the luxury of working customer service for a company that makes frozen meals and I am going to say now what I wish I could say to people on the phone! Don't blame the company that makes the food. If you are lazy and you overeat you will get fat. You have no one else to blame but yourself. If you are a parent and your child is gaining too much weight than you need to step up and be a parent. There are no excuses anymore. Everyone has access to nutriitional information and can make wise decisions for themselves and there family. Food is no different than alcohol. It is just fine in moderation. But if you abuse it you will suffer with consequences.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  18. Judy Franklin

    Childhood obesity is a real problem, but removing toys from Happy Meals is hardly a solution.When my children were young, some 30 years ago, I was a stay at home mom and a trip to McDonalds was a "pay day" treat. In other words, we went twice a month. Now, with both parents working, the time available for cooking by either parent is shortened and more time is spent in the car. It's unfortunate that the kids are the ones being denied their toy when it is society and are entire way of life that is to blame. I shake may head when I hear about the large number of times per week my grandkids eat out, but since my husband and I are regularly needed to help transport our 2 grandsons, I know how little time their parents have to sit down to a truly healthy meal.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  19. Edwin Gee Chee

    If the toy is dangerous, ban it. If the food is poisonous, ban it. If marijuana smells good... sell it !

    November 4, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  20. Southgate Jo

    Yep it's time we do something to get rid of the fat in food. It is killing us one bite at a time. Seeing as government has a share in our healthcare...they should have the right to legislate what we eat. I just hope they keep Snickers bars 🙂 I REALLY like snickers 🙂

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  21. Montie Masterson

    I would be pleased and impressed if McDonalds would drop the "free toy". It is not free, it is blended into the price.We are in fact paying for something that we don't need nor want. The worst thing is that these usless toys are made in China!
    I strive to teach my children manors, whats right and whats not. While McDonalds thrives on bribing our children to spend money and eat poorly and at the same time promote the influx of products from overseas that ends up in our land fills.
    Montie M.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  22. George J

    Just what we need MORE government! Didn’t we just vote and the results showed LESS not MORE.


    November 4, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  23. Jack

    The fat in the food isn't what's making people fat. It's the carbohydrates in the bun and the corn syrup in the soft drink.

    The insulin spike they cause prevents the body from burning the fats ingested.

    Drop the sweets and grains the kids will lose weight.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  24. Aaron G

    If the fast food companies will not do what it takes to help end the childhood obesity problem in this country, then of course government should step in. What is wrong with making companies be responsible for what they are selling. It happens in every other business sector.

    Sometimes a happy meal is the most economical way a parent/caregiver can feed their family, why shouldn't it be somewhat healthy.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  25. RghtrunClyde

    This is one more example of abuse of authority by left wing crazies (in the Bay Area). Next they can legislate what shoes kids can wear (in their own best interest, of course, not for kick backs or bribes) and then what brand of blue jeans and what games they can play. [but let them have pot because that's good for them]

    November 4, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  26. Paul

    For McDonalds it would no longer be a happy meal would it? And doesnt that constitute Govt interfering in business?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  27. Daniel Carlton

    The attention is the thing. There is no way to legislate this away, but it is an opportunity to pull back the curtain a bit on the connection between corporate entertainment and the industrialized food system. Horrific as they are, diabetes and other health risks are a small slice of the pie. Soy production for concentrated animal-feeding operations supplying beef to “Rapid Service” restaurants is the largest contributer to Amazon deforestation. The below livable crop prices resulting from the control of processing and distribution by a small number of massive corporations is a leading cause of poverty, disease and farmer suicide all over the world.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  28. Ben M

    The problem is not the 7 year old kid. The problem is the parents who can't say no to their kids. If your kid wants a happy meal, you don't have to give it to them. Creating new laws is not a solution for bad parenting.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  29. Kimberly Greiner

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Boy oh boy, will my 44", 45 lb. little boy be angry! He's been eating Happy Meals since he could eat solids, sparingly of course! I guess we should order a Unhappy Meal from now on!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  30. Zshawn Sullivan

    Wake up people! Those toys were never "free", the cost was overweight kids, kids with diabetes, life long eaters of the wrong food choices and the list goes on and on. If your kids wanted that 2-3 times a year that would be okay but the parents are letting them make that choice 2-3 times a week.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  31. Ray in Connecticut

    This is yet another example of how government is too big. One day the government is trimming school budgets by dumping gym class and after school sports, then the next day they want to ban Happy Meal toys and tax soda. One hand is contradicting the other. If you want to tax soda and other "fattening foods" and give that money straight to sports programs that would be great. Unfortunately we all know any new tax gos into a "General Fund" and never makes it to where it was intended. Isn't the ridiculously high tax on cigarettes supposed to go to stem healthcare costs? Hows that working out?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  32. Steve

    The government has no business dictating where a parent takes their children for a meal and what is included in the meal. If I want to take my grandchildren for a Happy Meal or for a salad at Sweet Tomatoes that's my choice not the city governments. What's next, telling us what books our children are allowed to read? I don't think so.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  33. Ken

    Once again government is getting involved in a private business.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  34. pedro

    wow that is messed up, the healthiest part of the meal is the toy, it has 0 calories, plus a business should have the right to give out toys, and its the parent who buys the meal, the parent can choose not to go to a fast food resturant....

    November 4, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  35. Cheryl

    It is not the governments job to tell anyone how or what to eat. Just another example of the intrusiveness into the private citizens life. Be adults America, if you don't want your child to have a toy, tell him/her NO.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  36. s

    Who is telling you what you can and cannot feed your children??? Happy Meals are not being banned, you can still BUY THEM! There just will not be a toy in the bottom! Instead of spouting non-sequitur lies, try to keep your comments substantive and relevant.

    The detriments of a high fat, high calorie diet have been demonstrated over and over again. Obesity is indeed a national public health crisis, and youth obesity (fueled by high fat diets that include fast food) is one of the most troubling trends. Think about when YOU were a kid, the TOY not the FOOD was what you wanted. By removing the toy, you remove the addictive element, while leaving the food free of "government regulation." This is frankly no different than banning flavored tobacco and candy cigarettes that was targeted at young people to cultivate a habit with contributed negatively to their health.

    If parents want to feed their children McDonalds, they are free to do so. However, the toy has always been a marketing tool used to hook children on the unhealthy, high-fat, high-calorie happy meals which are a gateway to double quarter pounders and super size fries as they get older. Good on San Francisco for taking this step to responsibly exercise government power to promote general well-being.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  37. Rick

    The Govt. has no business telling me what I can or cannot eat, what light bulbs I can use, what car I can drive, what appliances I can use, what kind of fuel I can buy, how much electricity I can use, what size house I can live in, where I get my health care etc., etc., etc ! The list goes on indefinitely ! Their job is to govern and support the U.S. Constitution. Stay out of my personal life !

    November 4, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  38. Bill Edwards

    I don't have anything against McDonalds, I think it's a great opportunity for jobs for young people. My problem is, in some impoverished neighborhoods where people don't have anchor grocery stores in their neighborhoods then McDonalds become their grocery store. The only stores in some neighborhoods are the "corner" stores that mostly sell beer and wine and cigarettes but no fruit or vegetables. I am glad that kids have access to McDonalds but there so be healthy less fatening foods on their menus.

    Thank You.

    Bill Edwards

    November 4, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  39. Brian from NY State

    Is this really necessary. Parents should not be taking their kids for a Happy Meal everyday anyway. Once a week is not unreasonable and why disappoint the child. It's the parents responsibility to monitor their children's eating habits. After all isn't usually very young kids who get a Happy Meal. Does San Francisco really have to take it to this level. GIVE ME A BREAK !!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  40. Mary R

    Parents need to stop using fast food as an answer to laziness or because there isn't enough time to cook. Make time to cook for your family, to sit at the table and eat a healthy meal. No expecting/adopting parent has ever daydreamed about their anticipated cherished moments such as what it would be like for their family to gather inside the sticky crumb filled car while rushing through traffic lights eating a greasy burger and fries.

    I was one of those moms and I decided to take a stand. TV and games only on Saturday and only for one hour. Happy meals? If it's the toy they covet, it's the toy I buy-not the meal. We're using smaller plates, eating more fiber and whole grains, and we're exercising!! Not only are my kids and I healthier, we have that extra money to use on whatever we want-except Happy Meals and restaurants!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  41. Jim

    Great to see the City imposing their dietary expertise on us while we try to solve the insignificant matters facing us.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  42. Jon

    For all the people upset about this – all the people that say it is up to the family. Why ban sale of alcohol and cigarettes to minors? Why not let everybody buy everything? Parents could still tell their kids not to smoke. The Government should be letting kids buy whatever they want, and the parents should be the ones to take the smoke from there mouth.


    This is SF trying to be forward thinking – trying to stop the association kids develop at a young age between toys / fun characters and unhealthy food.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  43. Felipe

    Government overreach? No. If people are not responsible then government should intervene. However, to avoid Republican criticism of the "democratic Nanny State" and lack of freedom, I would rather see insurance companies increasing rates on people who eat McDonalds, as opposed to us responsible eaters.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  44. Chris

    Freedom is great. And it would be great if we didn't have to pay for others poor choices. If you giving your kid a meal with enough calories in it for the day didn't have an effect on me, I wouldn't mind (too much). You giving your kids diabetes, however, means that I'll have to be paying for it for years to come. Just as the smokers who get COPD result in more hospital time that could have been prevented, stopping diabetes now means that we won't be wasting money on a preventable condition years from now.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  45. James

    I thought capitalism was the best system ever devised.

    Sink or swim, right?

    The banks sunk, and were thrown a lifesaver.

    McDonalds swims quite well and the government tries to push their head under water.

    Maybe parents should regulate how often they take their children to McDonalds if obesity is a problem, stop trying to balme everyone but yourselves.

    Maybe the real problem is the values we have and the bad choices we all make.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  46. TerrenA

    I just wanted to say that them banning toys is pointless because if they actually look you can get kids meals without the toy already. THey have the selection to get just a cheeseburger meal or a chicken mcnugget meal and alot of people do that where Im at. I use to work at mcdonalds and we would get people that didnt want the toy and we had meals for them that are basically a happy meal with out the toy and if the parents think that taking the toy away is going to help its not cause they dont want just the toy they love the food. They want someone to blame for their kids being fat or obese they can blame themselves cause they are the ones taking their kids to mcdonalds to eat all the time!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  47. Andrew Williams

    As a former McDonald's manager I understand the repercussions of eliminating the toy from the Happy Meal. Most children, believe it or not, don't go to McDonalds for a hamburger or chicken nuggets. They enjoy, and collect, the colorful toys that just happen to be included with the burger or nuggets. It's no different than letting your child play with his/her own toys after eating their own meal at home, which consequently, may just be a hamburger or chicken.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  48. Steve

    Maybe this is all backed by McDonald's? How much money could they save by not putting a toy in a happy meal? Maybe they could then charge a fee like let's say $0.99 to add a toy on to your Happy Meal? Most of the toys are worthless any way! This may be their test marketing ploy.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  49. trung

    As a life long bay area native i can't remember the last time i ate at McDonald's. there is a bay area joke you "know you in the San Francisco when you see pho or tacos on the McDonald's menu". That's ethnic food if you didn't know. if you live in the bay area and are underage the age of 30 you don't eat McDonald's for fast food. it just not what we eat. so what's the big deal.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  50. Chicago Joe

    You can legally grow canabis in northern California but kids in LA cant have toys with their happy meal in southern it me or does the big one need to come

    November 4, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  51. Sara K

    It's a RARE occasion my kids eat a Happy Meal – and when they do, we generally add our own veggie burger to it since my kids are vegetarian. This is a slap to my parental rights.

    I also wonder if the same folks that decided to take away my choice about when my kids get a toy in a Happy Meal are the same folks that scream "pro-choice" on other issues?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  52. Felipe

    i wonder if it will work..I always hated McDonalds as a kid..but all my friends loved it.and i when my family's parents would take me to McDonalds, I would order a happy meal..and give the burger aways..ate the fries..and played with the toy..

    it may work...

    November 4, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  53. Connie

    I am curious how healthy San Francisco's school lunch program is? Until they eliminate non-healthy items from the schools where there is not parental guidance to help the children make healthy choices, they should not be worried about what is going on in a privately owned business that parents can decide whether or not to order healthy items.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  54. Chow

    with all the problems in america today
    did they actually waste tax payers money on this issue???

    November 4, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  55. Chicago Joe

    Same sex marage is legal in San Francisco But kids cant have toy and french fries go figure

    November 4, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  56. Vision

    Like with everything in America these days, if you want to solve a problem, start in the completely WRONG place, and make sure you willingly give a few freedoms away while you're at it. If any of you are serious about fighting childhood obesity then teach your children to eat moderately, no matter what the calorie intake is per meal, and make sure they get some exercise. The obesity problem in this country stems from eating too much and lack of physical activity, that's it. If you take care of those two problems then you won't have to worry about the occasional visit to a McDonald's. Most importantly you haven't given up a single freedom other than your right to be a completely irresponsible parent perhaps.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  57. Rog4Cannabis

    Too Funny. Californians voted against freedom of choice so why are people acting so shocked that the government is now telling them what they can/cannot eat? Suck it up, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  58. melissa

    Come on. I have three children who are very healthy. They have three healthy meals a day. If I want to treat them every once in awhile to a Happy Meal, that should be my right as a parent. All of the obese people need to stop blaming others for their problem. If you have a child with an obesity issue, you should not be feeding them McDonalds every day just the same as you should not go to the ice cream store every day. What's next, banning children at Ben and Jerry's?

    November 4, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  59. trismeg

    Let me first say I'm sorry, sometimes things are hard to hear. Its unfortunate that Americans have been educated so very little on healthy eating, and living. Prop that up against the crap food industry and mega-advertisement inundation, the up hill battle for a healthy kid is steep. In a fast pace society where food on the run is an unfortunate must in some cases a little help from the greater community is a big help. I congratulate San Francisco on its effort to reduce the amount of its fat kids and hope to see this effort sweep our fat country.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  60. Sparky45

    The next most logical step is to ban the sale of toys that are not morally or socially responsible.

    "I'm sorry sir but we no longer sell Matchbox cars. Mattel failed to prove that they had social value."

    November 4, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  61. Nikrad

    This is a very ineffective way of battling unhealthy food. The high fat or high calorie is not the only problem. People can eat half a sandwich if they want to eat less fat. If the government really wants to protect our future generations from catastrophic health problems caused by consumption of unhealthy food, they should fight to put a ban on the use of Artificial Growth Hormones, Food Animal Antibiotics, High-fructose Corn Syrup, and many other genetically modified foods made in the U.S. that were banned in numerous countries years ago.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  62. Lillian

    My daughter eats three well balanced meals a day at home. She expects fruit and vegs for snacks. She also enjoys having a Happy Meal with a toy on the rare occasions that we go to McDonalds. I have taught her that they are OK as a treat the same as when we go out for ice cream (we don't keep it in the house). I will still order a Happy Meal, only now I will also order an extra sm fry and chocolate milk. She gets the treat and I get to spend more. Or maybe I'll just plan my shopping trip to take me out of town.

    November 4, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  63. mike

    I find it somewhat amusing that a lot of you speak of free enterprise and business and keep the government out yet make no mention of the various government subsidies that these vary corporations take full advantage of. The corn industry alone took in over 2 billion dollars in 2004! That corn is used to feed the garbage cattle that McDonalds in turn sells to you as a burger for 39 cents! You cannot have free market and corporate welfare if you want the government out of the happy meal then take them out I am completely ok with that but take them all the way out and your burger will be 4-5 bucks and your happy meal will be 10. You can’t have it both ways SOMEONE has to pay to make your food that cheap!

    November 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  64. JNC33

    I don't know about you, but how often do parents really take their kids to McDonald's? The effectiveness of this toy ban is only realized by those families that eat Happy Meals several times a week. When I was growing up, it was a TREAT to go to McDonald's if we all behaved.

    Has the city government compiled any semblance of scientific data to justify this law? Is there a study somewhere that reads, "4 out of 5 obese children were found to have a closet full of Happy Meal toys because they eat there six times a week." Most families cannot afford to eat out for all their meals and the ones that can will not be craving fast food all the time.

    This is a perfect example of "knee-jerk reaction politics" where ignorant lawmakers impose their misconceptions on the public at large to make them feel as though they're improving society.

    If Socrates had known that his advances in critical thinking and logic would ultimately be ignored in the future by power point politicians, he would have taken the hemlock years before and on his own accord.

    November 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  65. Mary R

    Connie has a good point. How healthy are school lunches exactly? Maybe the govt. should take out the high sodium, high fat, high calorie, processed foods and prepare healthy fresh foods for our kids. I'm sorry but ketchup and greasy fries should not be counted as a healthy vegetable. My school dist menu: pancakes, hot dogs on a white bun, cheese burgers on a white roll, cheesy beef tacos (dripping in grease). Not every parent can afford to pack a lunch and so many kids rely on free lunches that this would have a bigger impact than taking out a toy. A parent can add the toy to the happy meal for a dollar anyway.

    November 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  66. M Dark

    Personally I think this action from San Francisco is like chopping down the mightiest tree in the forest.........with a Herring! Hahahaha. Good luck with that 🙂 When I was a kid I liked the food, not the stupid toy. I guess it was always a nice bonus anytime you could get a "free" toy when you were a kid but it's definitely not the reason I asked to go to McDonald's when I was a kid. I don't think taking the toy away will do anything at all to combat the problem they are "seemingly" concerned with, no matter how many "experts on the subject" here in these posts want to rationalize it as a positive step in the right direction. It's so small and insignificant as to do nothing at all. It must be some sort of political misdirection trick 🙂

    November 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  67. MJ

    I always felt that feeding my children fast food was like feeding them from a dumpster. I can't do it. It's garbage. It is produced in horrific ways and has little to no nutritional value. Real food isn't any more expensive and doesn't have to take a lot of time. I can scramble a couple of eggs, peel some carrots, and toast some bread in less time than it takes to drive to McDonalds.

    I wonder if this will encourage fast food restaurants to start selling real food. I doubt it. But maybe it will make people think twice at what they're feeding to their kids.

    November 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  68. Amber

    It scares me a bit to see the number of people here who support this with statements that we need to legislate good behavior and discourage poor behavior. Do people know what a free society is anymore? We are all always going to make bad choices, some of us will make a few and some will make a lot. Do you really want the government over your shoulder every second – food, drink, clothes, television, movies. You'll think it sounds silly and that those items aren't what we're talking about – well 10 years ago how many of you would really have imagined we'd be not just talking but writing laws, and for some of you encouraging laws, that prohibit free enterprise. Every adult whether parent or not needs to take back their free will, learn to say No without the government telling you how or when and allow yourselves to say Yes sometimes without the government telling you that you can't splurge on a treat. Because if you don't, if you support this measure and similar measures I guarantee you they'll be coming after something you love and enjoy next – and you'll just be looking around wondering what happened and why nobody spoke up and stopped it.

    November 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  69. Bill

    Oh these comments are so funny. It's amazing how riled up the country gets over San Francisco. But let's face it folks, we are your future. We're always ahead of the curve – and when you catch up, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. We've banned smoking in shared public places, banned the use of Styrofoam for food related items, brought same-sex marriage to the national table and reject oil and nuclear power for wind, water and solar based alternatives. The heart of the progressive nation beats loudest in San Francisco.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  70. Janice

    I can not believe they are blaming child obesity on putting toys in a kids meal. If I owned one of theses Restaurants I would be pulling out of San Francisco. My children loved the Happy Meals when they were little and the toy had very little to do with them ordering it. We need to focus on not cutting sports in school and getting our kids more active and out from video games and the computer. School lunches need to be looked at. San Francisco is off my list of places to visit.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  71. Andrew

    I think this would be a great law! I think it is great that they want to do this. I have always wondered when someone would think about this and actually try to make it a law. For those children who are oveweight it is the parents' fault in the first place. If they would not have started taking their children there they probably wouldnt be that way. I believe most kids only want to go there for the toy. If the meals had to be healthier they wouldn't care. they would pick the healthier meal with the toy over the unhealthy meal without the toy.

    November 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  72. H8D3NXCORE

    So parents have lost their ability to tell their kids NO that they are allowing the liberals to step in. Seriously what happened to parents telling their kids NO Happy Meal? And if No dont get the message through pull off to the side of the road and use the spanking routine. Parents complain about kids no longer having respect for authority, alright so STOP complaining when/if you cant even get your kid to respect your decision on no happy meal for the toy. The Government shouldn't even be in the decision. It's for parents to raise their children and control what their kids eats NOT THE GOVERNMENT. That phrase "I want my kids to have a better life than me" -totally fine but there's a point where you have to be an adult and the parent and say NO and Thats Final!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  73. JA in Yarmouth Maine

    I highly respect the city's attempt to move in a direction of better health for its young citizens. While I agree that parents need to set a good healthy dietary and exercise example and set limits with junk/fast/fatty foods, I don't think it is an over reach of the government. A key responsibility of government is to protect its citizens and I see this as a smart and inexpensive way to protect the children. While there are many other ways the city can protect its citizens through law enforcement, this is one more creative avenue because kids are being diagnosed wilth lethal diseases due to obesity much more frequently than they are being assaulted or kidnapped.

    The other piece that needs consideration is that fast food is typically more affordable than healthy alternatives. With the current national fiscal crisis, so much high unemployment and families struggling to make ends meet, fast food is often one of the most affordable options for families. It's sad, but true, but the recession is actually adding to the obesity problem for children AND adults, and that will only further drive up healthcare costs.

    McDonald's really needs to dig deep into its greedy profit driven mission and become a more socially conscious corporate citizen taking gradual steps to add more healthy options to its menu that are more affordable than the fried and fattening options.

    My family went cold turkey on fast food about two years ago and I know that we are healthier and more fit because of it. Just watch the documentary called "Food, Inc" and you'll likely never cross the threshold of a fast food restaurant again.

    November 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  74. Maegan

    I honestly do not believe we should blame obesity solely on toys, but I see positivity in this endeavor. If we take the toys out of kids’ meals that are 600 or more calories and place the toys in what should now be called the “Healthy Meal”, kids will be rewarded for eating well. The problem is that a standard happy meal is ranging at 660 calories, which is predominately more than the suggested intake of a child. Kids are impressionable, and if they learn from a young age to eat healthy, the habits are likely to stay with them. A toy is a reward, or should be seen as one. America should reward their children for healthy eating habits rather than poor ones.

    November 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  75. Robert

    The comment that says the food industry should help pay for health care is a joke No one forces you to take your kid out for a Happy Meal, Your money bought the meal And your money can pay for health care. So many people want to blame other people for their own mistakes in America now days. If you can not be responsible for your own actions do not ask some one else to do it for you. As for the Happy meals it is the parents choice and the Government should climb under a rock and die.

    November 5, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  76. For Kids' Health

    Food police. Nanny state. Liberal demagogues. Big government. Now repeat. How susceptible are we to industry and right-wing fear mongering? Really? What do these words mean? Really? Here we have a city where 1/3 of the kids suffer from a diet-related condition. We know marketing is a primary contributor to this epidemic. We know that curbing junk food marketing means sparing the health of millions of children. The city stands up to industry and challenges them to do something more than blame parents as the soul culprits for the epidemic. And then we spend what precious time we have bandying around terms that provoke hatred, ire, and political warfare as opposed to talking about what really matters - our kids' health. The law doesn't ban parents from feeding their kids junk food. It doesn't prevent corporations from nannying our children's tastes and desires. It doesn't expand the size of government. Let's take a breath and remind ourselves of what is of value and whether this measure helps us achieve it. The science certainly indicates it will.

    November 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  77. Shulamith

    How very condescending and controlling. My family's approach to not living on happy meals has been not to buy happy meals so much. It isn't the junk foodness of happy meals that most needs addressing. It's one more instance of super greed that requires the end of lives of darling animals and usually not directly related to sustenance, that needs addressing. Usually we're catering to desires for convenience and undisciplined tongues. We're blasé about killing animals for our taste bud entertainment. It's not right with God. I know it isn't. I'm not against eating meat. I don't like PETA. I am very much for grateful eating. Consider what it means for one of God's irreplaceable creatures to die to nourish. If meat will make you and your children better able to stand and love a little longer, then there you go. It may even come in the form of a happy meal. It just shouldn't come in the form of indifference, silliness, vanity. This kind of consideration can definitely not be mandated.Self righteous rule happy law suggesters and makers are grabbing paychecks and inventing contempt.

    November 6, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  78. Fareed Mohammed

    Parents have even more concerns than the toy given with the meals. We are concerned when the price is cheaper for the combo with the soft drink than without the soft drink. We are concerned that we cannot take a small juice or milk in lieu of a medium or large soft drink. We would like fast food restaurants required to sell combos for more, even a penny more, without the soft drink. This will help end obesity in our children and encourge them to make healthly choices by giving them a choice. By making the soft drinks cheaper with combos our children feel they have no choice than to take the unhealthy soft drink.

    November 6, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  79. healthy

    This makes a lot more sense than rewarding children with toys for eating fast food.

    November 6, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  80. Christina

    I watched this report this morning, and listened to the former ad exec talking about what appeals to the kids and what makes them want the kids meals, etc. All I can do is shake my head and wonder at the audacity of blaming the restaurant for causing the increase in the number of obese children. Children are what their parents make them. Children don't buy the kids meals, their parents do; the parents who care more about shutting up their kids by giving in and buying them whatever they want rather than growing a pair and teaching them proper eating habis.

    November 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  81. Nona Y Biz

    I wonder if the same parents that are yelling about this are also the same parents that park these fat kids in front of the tv rather than making them go outside. Government needs to get out of our lives. And lazy parents need to take time on their kids.

    November 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  82. Bill

    I can make "fast food" using ingredients I buy at the fresh food section of my grocery store. The primary difference between fast food and grocery food is the sodium levels. I imagine that a good steak, potato, and mixed veggie meal isn't that much healthier than a Big Mac meal.

    November 6, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  83. vxp

    This is fascism! Another move towards total government control!

    Fat american parents should be able to make their children into good fat american consumers.

    That is all

    God Bless America!

    Freedom is not free.

    My friends are in Afghanistan right now dying and killing for our freedom to get happy meal toys!

    November 7, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  84. Beat Crazy DJ

    The concept of McDonald’s “Happy Meals” is downright evil & wrong. There is nothing “Happy” about ruining a child’s health while rooting the taste and habits for fast food at an early age. On top of it, they are presented with toys to further create a desire for useless entertainment that provides zero benefits.

    November 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  85. Sophie

    Why do we always said that the fast food is responsible for the obesity of our children. When are we gonna began to said that the grosseries store are responsible for what they are selling on the shelves. Do you think is better to buy chips, soft drink, chocolat, pop corn, etc.

    November 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  86. Maria

    When I was growing up, my mom and dad both worked full time jobs. My mom came home after a full day at work and fixed dinner (supper for some). I never remember being asked," what would you like for dinner"? We ate what she fixed or did without. I know she was tired, but she cooked religiously EVERY DAY. We kids got off our butts, and played outside until dinner time. Rode bikes or walked whereever we went. Point being, we weren't allowed to sit all day on the couch and stay glued to the TV. Nowdays the computer would have to be included with that. We had one phone in the house and it had a 15 minute a day limit for talking with friends. We were allowed one hour of tv a day and only then if our daily chores and homework were finished. And, in school, we didn't even have drink machines, let alone all the junk food machines like they do now. We ate what was in the cafe or brought our own. The problem with kids today, they feel they are "entitled" and shouldn't be made to do anything they don't want to do or made to eat anything they dont want to eat. I have raised my kids the same way I was raised. They are teens and neither of them own a cell phone and are limited to the tv and computer. Their homework is done as soon as they come in from school and I check it AFTER I have cooked dinner after my own long day at work. Then they do their chores. If time permits they can go outside and be with friends. Oh, they also are in the school band, and ballgames, so we do the traveling thing too, but don't rely on fast food dives for our eats. That is still a "treat" for us and will stay that way. I decided to have a family, so I take the responsibility to prepare meals in advance on the weekend when I know we are going to be busy the following week. Fix enough to freeze and then heat them up in the microwave. They are still homecooked and nutricious.

    November 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  87. Carson

    America's obesity is a major problem! Why award the obese children of America for eating the unhealthy foods? Take the toys out of the "Happy Meal" and give the toys to kids in Africa. At least they are outside doing something, ratther than staying inside playing Halo.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  88. John -San Pedro

    The toys in McDonald's happy meals were a marketing ploy to sell the product -in spite of the high fats and salt. As you know it's not the calories in a meal alone, it's the nutritive value of the food that counts. Let's see McDonald's and the other chains add toys to their "healthy meals ' and swing the pendulum the other way. Let's stop childhood obesity. John from San Pedro.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  89. Nolan

    San Francisco's city government ban of toys in childrens fast food meals is well intended, but is a missile that will miss the mark. Fast food childrens meals are by and large, packages of carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sodium with virtually no beneficial qualities. Childhood obesity is a serious issue. This ordinance banning the meals puts an unfair burden on the restaurateur to meet the goals of the nutrition police. It also burdens the city, which will have to utilize vital resources to sample and test food, and then enforce the standard. The simpler, more elegant, and effective solution is to require restaurants to prominently post on menus, along with the menu item, a listing of complete nutrition data and ingredients in a format similar to packaged food bought at the supermarket. This will create informed consumers who can then make intelligent choices, if they wish, for themselves and their children. The resulting shift in consumer purchasing patterns will cause a similar shift in menu offerings from business for the right reasons: Happier, healthier customers who remain valued customers, bolstering the corporations profits. Everybody wins: parents, children, government, and business.

    November 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  90. Birthday Guy

    Legislatiors.WOW they dont have more important things to do, other than worry about a kids toy in their lunch or dinner, Well I think they need a pay cut and some job postions restructured.If all they have to do is worry about this.Our Legislation system is in danger..

    November 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm |