In April, Santa Clara County instituted a ban on Happy Meals. This week, the city of San Francisco followed suit, becoming the first major city to ban the inclusion of toys in fast food meals for kids, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times.
The concept of Happy Meals – meals for kids that come with a toy – was introduced by McDonalds in 1979. Since then, other fast food chains have come up with their own versions of the Happy Meal.
These meals with toys, however, have been blamed as one of the possible causes of the obesity epidemic among children in the country. There are now several advocates calling for a ban against these meals, and the feature gave the opinion that San Francisco’s decision to ban the toys may trigger a spread in the prohibition.
Santa Clara County supervisor Ken Yeager, who introduced the ban, shared the following sentiment with the LA Times: “It’s only going to pick up steam… The fast-food chains must realize that the tide has turned.”
Lisa Gritzner, a political consultant with the LA PR firm Cerrell Associates, shared: “It absolutely wouldn’t surprise me. These types of issues get a lot of attention… they raise a lot of interest. They are sensationalistic but not necessarily in a bad way for someone who is trying to make a point.”
The California Restaurant Association has been lobbying against the measures in San Francisco and Santa Clara County, even taking out full-page ads. McDonald’s, on the other hand, has not yet decided on how to respond to these bans, according to a spokeswoman for the company.