Happy Meal Ban: City, Health Activists Chagrined by McDonald's

Earlier: Happy Meal Ban: McDonald's Outsmarts San Francisco

How the Happy Meal Ban Explains San Francisco

It seems the phrase “like stealing candy from a baby” is due for retirement. When describing a malicious act committed with ease, the new phrase is “easier than eluding San Francisco's Happy Meal ban.”

As SF Weekly broke Tuesday, local McDonald's restaurants found a remarkably simple method of sidestepping the city's new ban on unhealthy meals being incentivized with toys — which takes effect Dec. 1. Instead of giving away a toy with a Happy Meal, San Francisco McDonald's restaurants will now require Happy Meal purchasers to make a 10-cent charitable donation to Ronald McDonald House in order to receive their coveted trinket. Ironically, a law intending to prevent fast food outlets from using the allure of toys to push unhealthy food may now be accentuating that practice. Prior to the city's “Healthy Meal Incentive Ordinance,” buyers could simply purchase a McDonald's toy for $2.18. Now, however, only those who buy the Happy Meals are allowed to obtain the toys.

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