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Which is better, a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal or the toy inside?
Soon, any debate on that question will be a moot point in Santa Clara County, California. There, lawmakers have passed a bill that sets required nutritional standards for kids' meals. Restaurants, such as McDonalds are prohibited from giving away Happy Meal toys unless they are given with a meal that satisfies nutritional standards.
Depending upon who you ask, the law is either a long-overdue way to reduce childhood obesity, or another example of unwanted nanny-state interference.
Recently on CNN.com, a non-scientific poll was featured, asking: Should toys be banned from fast food kids' meals that are high in calories, fat, salt and sugar?
At the time of writing this post, 166,329 people had voted, with 53% of the voters choosing "No" and 47% choosing "Yes."
As Reuters reports, the opinions on the matter are as divided as the poll indicates.
"This ordinance levels the playing field....It helps parents make the choices they want for their children without toys and other freebies luring them toward food that fails to meet basic nutritional standards," said Ken Yeager, president of Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors.
"Ultimately, parents decide what their children eat and whether a meal includes a toy or not -- that is the role of a parent," Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Association, told Reuters. "The county government does not need to serve as the parent of the parents," she continued.
The law will not go into effect until it undergoes a second reading on May 11. Restaurants will then have 90 days to make the necessary changes and an opportunity to propose alternatives.