LOS ANGELES — Fast food giant McDonald’s said Wednesday it was “extremely disappointed” at a ruling by San Francisco authorities banning high-calorie Happy Meals, which entice children to eat with free toys.
The response came after the Californian city’s board of supervisors voted to forbid restaurants from giving gifts with meals that contain too much fat and sugar.
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision. It?s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” said McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud.
Happy Meals, which typically come in a colorful cardboard box packed with a burger, a drink, fries and desert, are popular with hard-pressed parents as well as children, she said.
“Public opinion continues to be overwhelmingly against this misguided legislation. Parents tell us it’s their right and responsibility, not the government’s, to … to choose what?s right for their children.”
And she added: “We are extremely proud of our Happy Meals which give our youngest guests wholesome food and toys of the highest quality. Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s.”
Under the ban agreed in a preliminary vote Tuesday, restaurants in San Francisco would have to provide fruit and vegetables with meals accompanied by free toys, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This is a tremendous victory for our children’s health,” said the state education board’s Eric Mar, chief sponsor of the legislation.
The measure will go to a full vote next week and if approved would not come into force before December 2011.
Scott Rodrick, who owns 10 McDonald’s franchises in the city, was quoted by the paper as saying: “Somehow the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just took the happy out of Happy Meals.”
“It would be an understatement to say how disappointed I am with this legislation,” he added.