By an 8 to 3 margin, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today over-rode a veto by Mayor Gavin Newsom and approved a measure advanced by Supervisor Eric Mar that sets nutritional standards for food that may be packaged together with toys.
Speaking at a Board of Supervisors meeting, Mar said he was “standing up for our children’s health and holding the fast food industry accountable.”
“No amount of physical activity can undo the effects of unhealthy eating,” he said.
No one on the Board of Supervisors spoke against the measure but supervisors Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Michaela Alioto-Pier voted against it.
Newsom’s spokesman Francis Tsang said the mayor continues to believe that the Happy Meal ban “goes too far.
“It should be parents not politicians who dictate what children should eat,” he said.
Proponents of the measure have called Newsom’s veto and continuing opposition hypocritical because the mayor had supported banning from city property vending machines that sell soda.
But Tsang said the soda ban was different. “That’s taxpayer dollars and what the Happy Meal ban does it dictate how people should spend their own money,” he said.
In a statement, McDonald’s spokesperson Danya Proud criticized the legislation.
"It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," she said, arguing that McDonalds' food is not as unhealthy as its critics make it out to be.
"Any fair and objective review of our menu and the actions we’ve taken will demonstrate we've added multiple options for parents to choose," the statement read. "This includes Apple Dippers (bagged, sliced, pre-peeled apples), low-fat one percent milk, 100 percent apple juice and Chicken McNuggets made with white meat."
Proud said the company will "continue to explore a variety of options" on how to respond to the measure. "It would be premature to further comment or speculate at this time," she said.
According to the company's website, a McDonalds' Happy Meal with a cheeseburger, small fries, and chocolate milk has 700 calories, 27 grams of fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,060 grams of sodium.