Happy Meals Less Happy in California

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Kids eating at certain McDonald’s locations in California may not be as happy when they find out they won’t get toys in their Happy Meals.

Santa Clara County has adopted a proposal to ban the toys from McDonald’s (Stock Quote: MCD) kids’ meals deemed too unhealthy for children, notes WalletPop.

The concern is that children might perceive any toys, games, trading cards or other fun items as an incentive for eating an unhealthy meal, the county suggests.

Specifically, toys are being prohibited as giveaways with any kids’ meal that packs more than 485 calories, more than 600 milligrams of salt, or too much fat or sugar, according to the county.

Under the new policy, too much fat in a meal is defined as more than 35% of total calories from fat or more than 10% of total calories from saturated fat.

Trans fats have already been removed from the menus of many fast food chains, but the county lists 0.5 milligrams of trans fat as too much. Additionally, more than 10% of calories as added sweeteners will be considered “excessive sugars,” according to the new policy.

But, in addition to taking away a little piece of happiness from children, the new rule might actually save the fast food giant money. Santa Clara County says that buying toys is the second-largest expenditure for fast food promotions, citing Federal Trade Commission estimates.

There appear to be no proposals under consideration to ban Cracker Jack prizes or toys and other bonus items found in boxes of sugary cereal.
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