(NYC Happy Meal toy ban report and poll updated with additional detail.)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Following in the footsteps of a measure adopted in San Francisco last year, a New York City councilman is proposing that free toys be banned from fast-food meals intended to appeal to children unless the meals meet certain healthfulness guidelines.
City Council member Leroy G. Comrie Jr. said kids' meals, such as those offered in McDonald's (MCD) famed Happy Meals, and at fast-food chains such as Wendy's Arby's (WEN), Sonic (SONC), Yum! Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell and Burger King, among others, need reduced amounts of fat, salt and sugar if toys are to be included.
He introduced the bill to City Council on April 6, arguing that toys only be offered in kids' meals that contain less than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium. Less than 35% of the calories may come from fat, he said, save for the inclusion of nuts, seeds, peanut butter or other nut-based butters. The meal would also have to include a half cup of fruit or vegetables, or a serving of whole-grain products.
Restaurants caught violating the ban, if it were passed, would face fines ranging between $200 and $2,500. The city of San Francisco's board of supervisors voted for a similar proposal in November; Santa Clara, Calif. enacted comparable legislation earlier last year. Comrie's proposal has stricter health guidelines than San Francisco's. He thinks "it's important to find a way to make a healthy lifestyle palatable and exciting."
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