Foodservice Equipment Reports

Bans To Ban Toy Bans

Here’s a new one: Legislation to ban legislation. Last year’s San Francisco ban on toys in Happy Meals (and other children-directed fare) has prompted politicians in at least two states to propose legislation prohibiting cities and counties in their states from doing likewise and banning toys with meals.

The Arizona House of Representatives recently passed HB 2490, which takes a protective stance toward toys, coloring books and even glasses featuring cartoons. But the San Francisco ordinance is predicated on the health of the meal. It does not ban toys, it just makes those incentives illegal in any children’s meal unless the food meets specific nutritional standards.

The Arizona Restaurant Association lobbied for the bill. "We wanted to be proactive in making sure it didn't take place here," ARA pres. Steve Chucri, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "To arbitrarily say a toy in a Happy Meal or crayons given to a child in a restaurant is going to predestine them to only having fatty foods in laughable."

The Nebraska state legislature has indefinitely postponed legislation that would have prevented fast-food operators from including toys in certain kids’ meals. The “Children’s Health & Corporate Responsibility Act” would have restricted operators from featuring a toy in children’s meals containing more than 500 calories. The bill also contained restrictions on saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and sodium.

The National Restaurant Association has criticized toy bans as an ineffective method to improve childrens’ health.

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