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Newsom vetoes Happy Meal toy ban

November 12, 2010 5:43:38 PM PST
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is trying to put the happy back into Happy Meals. Friday, he vetoed the city's controversial ban on toys in fast food meals for kids, but the fight is not over at City Hall.

The Happy Meal legislation sets nutritional standards for restaurant food sold with toys or other incentives for children. Backers of the San Francisco ordinance say restaurants that offer toys with a meal in order to attract children ought to be required to offer healthier meals with those toys.

"All we're doing was a modest ordinance that will create healthier food choices if toys are attached to them," San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar said.

Mar has been the lead sponsor of the legislation. He got seven other supervisors to go along and pass it eight to three.

But Friday, Newsom vetoed the ordinance.

"We said you have to have a certain milligram of this that and that and doing this and then you can have a toy and I just think it goes a little too far," he said.

Newsom says it is not that he is against healthier meals; he pointed to a whole raft of measures he has promoted, including salad bars in elementary school cafeterias.

He knows the supervisors can override his veto if they can hold onto their eight to three margin, but he hopes to find some on the board who will reconsider.

"And I'll try and make a case to one or two members of the board that were a little uneasy about this and trust me, there were a few," Newsom said.

Mar says the mayor is mistaken.

"He knows that we have a super majority, we're very solid in supporting children's health," Mar said.

Scott Rodrick owns 10 of the 20 McDonalds in San Francisco. If the veto is overridden, Roderick's' restaurants will work to keep the toys by changing the Happy Meal menu.

"City Hall is now coming in and mandating what we have on our menu so we're going to sit down and spend some good quality time figuring out how we comply with this law," he said.


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