Santa Clara County Is Taking the Happy Out of Your Meal

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010  |  Updated 2:28 PM PDT
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Street Food Festival Overrun With Hungry Foodies

Hap_M on Flickr

The Happy Meal is not so happy anymore. Photo: Hap_M on Flickr

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Santa Clara County supervisors have voted to ban restaurants from giving away toys and other freebies with high-calorie meals.

      Believed to be the first of its kind, the ordinance is aimed at curbing childhood obesity.
     
Opponents say it is another example of too much government meddling in family affairs.
     
The ban, approved 3-2 on Tuesday, covers unincorporated areas of the county -- which means only about a dozen fast-food chains and several family-owned restaurants.
     
A restaurant would face fines up to $1,000 if it violates the ban. The issue has been debated for months.with supporters saying the toys attrach kids to unhealthy foods.

"They want the toy and have no idea what's in the food," Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager told the Mercury News in March. "You can't expect a 3-year-old to say there are too many calories in that hamburger."
     
Supervisors will conduct a final vote May 11. If it passes then, the ordinance would take effect 90 days later.
     
Restaurants can still modify the proposal by suggesting alternatives that would need supervisor approval.

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