A representative for the California Restaurant Association (CRA) called the recent move by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to ban toys in kids’ meals that don’t meet certain health requirements “troubling.”
Daniel Conway, director of public affairs for the CRA, says the association is “disappointed” with the passage of the ordinance.
“It’s important to keep in mind that it was a 3–2 vote,” Conway says. “It’s basically three people who made this decision to put this through.
“We did a poll of county residents, and 80 percent of them said that it was not an important issue to them, and 87 percent said that they were in a better position to make decisions about what to eat than local politicians.”
The ordinance passed by the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors was made in an attempt to combat childhood obesity. It bans toys in meals that include more than 485 calories or 600 milligrams of sodium, or get more than 35 percent of calories from fat.
“Santa Clara has quarter-billion-dollar county budget deficit, they have 12 percent unemployment, and yet here they are pursuing this proposal for whatever reason,” Conway says.
Applying only to unincorporated parts of Santa Clara County, Conway says the ordinance might only affect about 12 restaurants. The precedence is still significant, Conway says, and he’s not sure if other California counties will follow suit.
“On the one hand, this is something that’s been ridiculed, so I would think that a politician in an election year would maybe be a little hesitant to be associated with something like this,” he says. “On the other hand, this is California. So who knows?”
In a statement to QSR, a Burger King representative said only one Burger King restaurant is affected by the ordinance.
According to the statement, there are still three kids’ meals at Burger King in Santa Clara County that will come with a toy: a hamburger with BK Fresh Apple Fries, low-fat caramel dipping sauce, and calcium-fortified Minute Maid apple juice; Chicken Tenders with BK Fresh Apple Fries, low-fat caramel dipping sauce, and Hershey’s fat free milk; and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with BK Fresh Apple Fries, low-fat caramel dipping sauce, and Hershey’s fat free milk.
“In addition to providing several BK Kids Meals [that] meet the requirements outlined by this ordinance, BKC has previously taken proactive steps to promote balanced diets as part of our BK Positive Steps corporate social responsibility program,” the statement said.
By Sam Oches