According to Mike Huckabee (see the video below), The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco is more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal. They just voted to effectively ban fast food “kid’s meals” from its fair city. It’s called the Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance (#101096) and its right out of Michelle Obama’s Healthy Food Initiative playbook. The method is to dictate to parents what kids must or cannot eat by reducing their choices. So far, they haven’t come directly into the kitchen; that might be next term, if Barack and Michelle win re-election.
The ordinance forbids restaurants from “offering an incentive item (toy, game, trading card, admission ticket, or other consumer product, whether physical or digital, with particular appeal to children and teens” and “linked (emphasis mine) to the purchase of a meal (single food item or combination of food item/s and a beverage)” unless the meal conforms to the whims of the legislators. In other words, its hominy and haricot or the highway for McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen and Hardees.
Every meal incentivized must now include a fruit or vegetable (I wonder if ketchup counts?) and be no more than 600 calories. The do-gooders will also make sure there is not too much fat or too many calories in the meal. So does this mean that if my son adds nine tablespoons of ketchup to his cheeseburger and fries (like he usually does) they will confiscate his ITunes download code? What if a little kid empties out the sugar-free pop at the refill station and fills the cup with a sugared soda instead? Will the fast food police take his Megamind Light Effects Brainbot or her Metro Man? Or has San Francisco banned refill stations, too? Maybe McD’s should start calling them “Hapless Meals”
First, let me offer McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardees, Dairy Queen, and the other chains some free advice (notice I didn’t say legal advice!): Knock a dollar off the price of any meal combination given to children, including those with children’s portions. Let the children pick whatever they want to eat (Freedom – what a novel idea!), and don’t connect any toys to the meals (not that you can’t suggest a toy for the little tykes). Then, let them pick a toy for 50 cents. Everybody wins (perhaps except the Supervisors of San Francisco who will be thwarted by the free market solution you have offered). Since the parents can choose to buy a toy or not and they still get the discount and you can still call them Happy Meals; it is certainly not an “incentive” and they are not linked. And they could buy the toys without a meal, as well.
Second, Restaurant Appreciation Month, according to the city’s other new ordinance (101178), is in October. Nominations for McDonald’s for next year can come from the mayor, Board of Supervisors or the general public. That includes you, reader of Caffeinated Thoughts. We have a whole year to make the nominations, why not start today.
Here are some phone numbers for the supervisors that voted for the ban. You can call to make your nominations of McDonald’s. These are all office numbers and many are attached to answering machines so you can leave a message.
(415) 554-5184, E-mail: Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org
Eric Mar is the supervisor sponsoring the law, you can reach his office at (415) 554-7410 or Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org
David Campos, (415) 554-5144, David.Campos@sfgov.org
David Chiu, (415) 554-7450, David.Chiu@sfgov.org
Chris Daly, (415) 554-7970, Chris.Daly@sfgov.org
Bevan Dufty, (415) 554-6968, Bevan.Dufty@sfgov.org
Sophie Maxwell, (415) 554-7670, Sophie.Maxwell@sfgov.org
Ross Mirkarimi, (415) 554-7630, Ross.Mirkarimi@sfgov.org
Please feel free to repost this on your own blog or Facebook page if you wish, giving credit where it is due. That will make Shane (our fearless leader) as Happy as a Happy Meal or probably happier.
Mike Huckabee also commented on this back in July when it was first considered: