San Francisco mayor plans to veto Happy Meal toy ban
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to veto an ordinance passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors on Nov. 9 that bans the inclusion of toys in fast-food restaurants’ kids’ meals unless those meals meet certain nutritional requirements. The ordinance’s sponsor, Supervisor Eric Mar, says supporters of the ordinance have enough votes to override Newsom’s veto.
While he supports most efforts to address childhood obesity, Newsom said in a statement that the new ordinance is “the wrong approach.” “Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money,” Newsom said. “Despite its good intentions, I will veto this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.”
Mar says he was expecting Newsom’s decision to veto the ordinance.
“I’ve been doing my best to reach out to him and to ask for his input from the beginning of our ordinance as we were drafting it, but he’s been very clear that he will veto it,” Mar says. “But, we have a super majority [of 8 to 3] that can override the veto.” He expects the board will vote on Dec. 7 to override the veto, and the legislation is supposed to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2011.
Under the new ordinance, a restaurant may include a free toy or incentive item — such as games, trading cards, admission tickets or other consumer product with particular appeal to children and teens — in a children’s meal if it does not contain excessive calories, sodium, fat or saturated fat, or more than 0.5 grams of trans fat. The meal also must contain at least 0.5 cups or more of fruits or vegetables.