The San Francisco mayor is about to veto an ordinance that would ban Happy Meal toys in the city. San Francisco voters approved the measure, an initiative that appears geared toward providing healthier food options for kids in the city. It looks like not everyone is on board with the ordinance, though, especially San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who will apparently veto that ban on Friday.
According to CNN, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the ban on Tuesday. Following that, Mayor Newsom is expected to veto the ordinance on Friday and release a report that outlines the efforts of San Francisco to fight childhood obesity. The ordinance didn’t just target McDonald’s Happy Meals, but any fast-food restaurants that were selling kids meals that come with toys. There will now be nutritional standards put in place in order for them to continue doing that.
The reason that McDonald’s is getting mentioned so often in this case, and that Happy Meals (which they sell) keep coming up, is because they were one of the leading entities trying to fight against the measure getting approved. That’s not a surprise, because selling to families is one of their big advertising schemes, and the Happy Meal toys that they have sold over the years have become one of their biggest sellers. If McDonald’s were forced to completely restructure how they sell those meals, they might lose out to some other competitors.
The fight from McDonald’s has always been that their customers want Happy Meals on the menu, but that argument didn’t fly with the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco. By a margin of 8-3, they passed the new city ordinance, making a veto almost a worthless endeavor by the mayor. It takes a two-thirds vote to override a veto, so even if Mayor Newsom follows through with the veto as planned, the city can simply vote to put the ban back in place. There is still the chance that someone could change their vote, though, so the mayor is going to give this a try.
This is pretty groundbreaking either way, especially for an entire city the size of San Francisco to make such a broad stand against restaurants trying to appeal to kids through the sale of toys. With childhood obesity rates rising all across the country, the efforts by the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco has been applauded by quite a few groups. Now they are going to face pressure from both sides as they vote again on the ordinance, provided that the mayor does indeed veto it.
What is taking place in San Francisco could definitely float to other major cities around the country, and it will be very interesting to see if someone else takes up the mantle in this effort to fight childhood obesity rates. Healthier food options will definitely help everyone, but the ultimate question is whether or not that is what the consumers really want.