APRIL 06, 2011
Asserting that “low-income and minority neighborhoods” are being targeted by fast-food chains, a New York City councilman is introducing legislation to ban the popular eateries from including toys with kids’ meals that don’t meet strict nutritional standards.San Francisco passed a similar law last year aimed at certain fast-food franchises that promote children’s meals—usually featuring a burger or cheeseburger, fries and a soda—by including free toys in the package. Approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in November, the measure forbids free toys with meals that exclude fruits and vegetables and exceed caloric, fat and sugar limits.Crafted by a Democrat from Queens (Leroy Comrie), the New York bill is very similar to San Francisco’s, though the famously liberal city by the bay didn’t play the race card. Comrie’s bill requires eateries that offer toys with food to assure that meals have low fat and low sodium totals and less than 500 calories. If it passes, violators will face rather hefty penalties of $200 to $2,500 for repeat offenders that use toys to sell unhealthy meals.Ironically, Comrie is quite overweight and has likely downed many fattening cheeseburgers and fries without the lure of a free toy. Could it be that he’s the victim of a conspiracy by evil fast-food restaurants that unscrupulously push their tasty, artery-clogging treats in the inner city?Regardless, Comrie’s measure compliments Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to control what New Yorkers eat. Last year the self-professed salt and junk-food lover used City Hall to ban trans fat in restaurants and force eateries to post calorie counts. Bloomberg also launched a widespread anti-salt campaign that has cost taxpayers $370,000.
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