Monday, April 26, 2010

Santa Clara County to Ban Happy Meals

Photo courtesy: Life

It is becoming obvious to anyone who wishes to look, that fast-food is more unhealthy for us than we have ever admitted. McDonald's, in particular, has taken the brunt of the wrath of the anti-fast-food movement. I have to admit that I feel being forced to eat at McDonald's is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment.

A short while ago, I did a blog on an experiment done with a McDonald's Happy Meal. The Happy Meal was purchased, taken home, unwrapped, photographed, and set a shelf for a year. After one year had passed, another photo was taken of this Happy Meal that still looked remarkably edible after one year. Real food should rot - this did not.

I did another blog about a fellow who went to an unnamed burger chain and bought 10 burgers. He took them home and used only the grease on the burger patties to reproduce the Mona Lisa on a canvas one storey high.

In fact, that video was so good, it deserves to be repeated.

Santa Clara County in California, USA has taken an unusual and progressive stand on behalf of the health of the children of that county. They have banned Happy Meals entirely; as well as, any toys or other such promotions for unhealthy children's meals. From now on, the children of Santa Clara County will no longer be tempted to eat high fat, unhealthy meals because of the toys or gadgets inside the meal.

Officials are hoping this will mean healthier children and less obese youngsters. While there are many who feel this ordinance will benefit the young people unable to make their own choices, some see it as totally out of line and an infringement on our rights to eat and/or feed our children what we choose.

The LA Times reports:
Happy Meal toys and other promotions that come with high-calorie children's meals will soon be banned in parts of Santa Clara County unless the restaurants meet nutritional guidelines approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.

"This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's' love of toys" to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes."

The point being made here is that proponents of the decree maintain that using toys to make unhealthy foods more desirable creates a psychological reward for eating badly; while, allowing toys only in healthy choices rewards children for eating well.

I may be old-fashioned; but, what happened to eating healthy meals without any kind of reward because it's the right thing to do (and your parents said so!) Children today do not receive the benefit of homemade food they way I or my children did. We didn't get money to buy lunch at school or the corner grocery store. We took a lunch that was prepared at home with good, nourishing food.

Weigh in readers! Do we need these things banned or should parents take more control and responsibility for their children's eating habits?

Via TreeHugger and Los Angeles Times

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