Council May Ban McDonalds Happy Meals

Via the Echo:

Council group considers banning McDonald’s Happy Meals

Feb 25 2008

McDONALD’S Happy Meals may be outlawed in Liverpool on the grounds they are damaging children’s health.

City councillors claim the burger giant is contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity by offering free toys to encourage youngsters to buy their food.

Kids Big Mac

McDonald’s has strongly rejected the claims.

Members of Liverpool council’s childhood obesity scrutiny group want a bye-law that would forbid the sale of fast food accompanied by toys.

It has called for a report that would pave the way for the bye-law, which would be the first of its kind in the UK.

The plan will be put to a select committee of Liverpool Council at the end of the month.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Twigger said: “We consider it is high time that McDonald’s are challenged over their marketing policies.

“Children are directly targeted with junk food and McDonald’s use the Happy Meals to exploit the pester power of children, against which many parents give in.”

The Happy Meal containing the most calories – cheeseburger, small fries and chocolate milkshake – has 740 cals, almost half of children’s recommended daily allowance of 1600. The healthiest meal on the menu comprises carrot sticks, nuggets, and mineral water, with 200 cals.

Cllr Twigger, 26, added: “They know that most children won’t want carrots and water but put them on the menu to stave off the criticism from health campaigners.”

Healthy eating campaigners are backing Liverpool council’s move.

Food Commission spokesman Ian Tokelove said: “McDonald’s are very skilled at getting children into their restaurants and know how to tug on the purse strings of parents. But a lot of the food on the Happy Meal menu can put children’s health at risk if eaten too regularly.”

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