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US: Toy ban in Californian county only on unhealthy kid’s meals

Last month, officials in a Californian county set standards for fast-food restaurant toy giveaways.  Predictably, the restaurant industry was upset and argued that the law interfered with individual choice.

The president of the American Public Health Association disagrees.  The law does not ban toys.  It  only bans toy giveaways with unhealthy meals, making it easier for parents to choose healthy meals for their children.  She says:

“Far from the intrusion that the restaurant association would have you believe it is, this new law does not ban toys. Rather, the ordinance requires that meals accompanied by toys meet basic nutrition standards. It’s an interesting approach: reward good behavior, not bad behavior. It turns the familiar pestering power of children on its head, making it easier for parents to choose healthy meals,”

“The Federal Trade Commission has found that toy giveaways are the second highest child-directed expenditure by the [fast food] industry after TV advertising. You have to ask, with numbers like this, who’s really interfering in parents’ ability to make a healthy choice for their children?”

Read more: Mercury News, 5 May 2010

Published on May 8, 2010 in International news