Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Journalism, not toys!

The eve of the annual national pig-out seems the right time for this post: I admit it, I'm pleased that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is trying to legislate against toys stuffed in McDonald's Happy Meals. Conservatives and libertarians are wailing that this is yet another wacky San Francisco interference in people's autonomy, but I dare to think that in a few years many jurisdictions will follow suit. Banning promotions that target children seems a reasonable health measure. Why should marketeers profit off getting kids addicted to stuff that, in our culture of excess, will kill them?

It's worth passing on what the law would actually do. This important detail has been left out of many accounts. Here's the poop from KTVU.

The ordinance, which would go into effect in December of next year, prohibits toy giveaways in fast-food children's meals that have more than 640 milligrams of sodium, 600 calories or 35 percent of their calories from fat. The law also would limit saturated fats and trans fats and require fruits or vegetables to be served with each meal with a toy.

A couple of enterprising reporters from MissionLocal positioned themselves outside the 24th Street McDonalds and asked kids and adults what they thought about the toys. What a novel idea -- they perpetrated journalism.

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