The Happy-Meal has been Banned!

by L Matthews on November 3, 2010


San Francisco has banned the Happy Meal!

Hopefully the first of many cities to do so, SF has introduced a new piece of legislation that states that any meal that includes a toy has to adhere to certain nutritional standards. Surprise, surprise, the Happy Meal at McDonalds doesn’t as it is full of fat, sodium, and has a distinct lack of anything resembling a vegetable. So effectively those clever folks at the SF board of supervisors have found a way of making McDonalds clean up its act. Clearly we would like them gone altogether, but we’ll take the victories where we can.

The law applies to other ‘restaurants’ too, but is already being called the Happy-Meal Ban as it appears to have had one prime (rib) target.

Unfortunately, some of the details of the bill have been watered down such as:

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

McDonalds have funded a big advertising campaign against the legislation, as have the people who make the HappyMeal toys. They have started a spurious ‘freetochooseourmeals’ website. Free to choose obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol-filled, nutritionally-void crap, great thanks let’s feed that to our kids. Normally I’m against the nanny-state idea, but most nans have quite a good grasp of what to feed kids at least, maybe this is one we should support?

Of course, the better option would be to simply introduce a general law that made any kids meal for sale adhere to a reasonable set of nutritional guidelines. Call it quality control. The HappyMeal ban has people up in arms about choice, but why are they so concerned about protecting the right to choose unhealthy lives for their kids?

the burger on the left, 12yrs old, on the right, 'fresh'.  Still want to eat it?

the burger on the left, 12yrs old, on the right, 'fresh'. Still want to eat it?

If you needed any more proof of how vile the so-called food at McDonalds is, take a look at the 12yr old burger in the picture to your right. The one next to it (off the paper) was bought by a journalist for the comparison in 2008 when the pictures were taken. Scary. Do you really want to put that in your body? What the hell is in them!?

In other MaccyD news: McDonalds have recently been using HappyMeals to bribe small children in Detroit libraries to take up reading programmes. An interesting concept, perhaps they can teach the kids to read a book about nutrition and then read the ‘nutritional’ information provided high up on the walls at McDonalds (out of children’s reach of course). I’m sure they’d learn a lot then. I know that Detroit has some serious social issues, illiteracy being at the root of many of them, but since when did it become someone other than parents and the government’s responsibility to encourage education? This association with McDonalds is highly damaging, as these kids are much more likely to be living in poverty, contract chronic illnesses such as diabetes, be unemployed, and become obese.

Fast food fail

Fast food fail

How is using a harmful fast food ‘meal’ going to help any of that? Get the government doing their job, put the funding into literacy programmes, and if the funding isn’t there then, sure, take the money from McDonalds. If they care enough about kids reading then they won’t mind not having the PR exercise with HappyMeals will they? Yeah, didn’t think so.

McDonalds are also facing questions about voter intimidation as it is claimed that some workers in the US have been told that they will get no pay rise, bonuses, or benefits if the Republicans don’t get in. Democracy/DMaccyD?

All in all, there’s a suspicious smell emanating from McDonalds right now (as always), but at least they can’t lure you in with a crap plastic toy anymore.

We’re loving it!

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