Free Markets, Free People

Happy Meals

No Happy Meal for you!

The Nanny State never rests.  In Santa Clara county, California (surprise, surprise) county supervisors are proposing a ban on toys in fast food meals:

Convinced that Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children could make kids fat as well as happy, county officials in Silicon Valley are poised to outlaw the little toys that often come with high-calorie offerings.

The proposed ban is the latest in a growing string of efforts to change the types of foods aimed at youngsters and the way they are cooked and sold. Across the nation, cities, states and school boards have taken aim at excessive sugar, salt and certain types of fats.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat. In the case of McDonald’s, the limits would include all of the chain’s Happy Meals — even those that include apple sticks instead of French fries.

Because Nanny knows best, one size fits all,  and besides you parents out there are just incompetent.

Supporters say the ban would encourage restaurants to offer more-nutritious foods to kids and would make unhealthful items less appealing. But opponents believe it amounts to government meddling in parental decisions. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider the proposal Tuesday.

Anyone – do you really believe that taking a toy out of a meal will make the meal “less appealing”, or do you suppose the taste of the meal has more to do with the appeal and the toy is just a bonus.  Or ask another way, if you take the kids to McD’s and toys are no longer available, will they order or want something other than what is normally found in a Happy Meal.

My four grandson survey says “no”.  But the nanny’s will not be denied:

Ken Yeager, the Santa Clara County supervisor who is behind the effort, says the toys in kids’ meals are contributing to America’s obesity epidemic by encouraging children to eat unhealthful, fattening foods.

“People ask why I want to take toys out of the hands of children,” said Yeager, who is president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “But we now know that 70% of the kids that are overweight or obese will be overweight or obese as adults. Why would we want to burden anybody with a lifetime of chronic illness?”

Who is “we” Mr. Yeager and by what right do you reach down into a retail establishment and decide what it can or can’t offer to its customers? Just as importantly, since when is it the role of government to decide what is or isn’t appropriate for someone to eat?

This is just the beginning of what you can expect to see from the food nazis (the FDA and salt?) now that government health care reform is law.