County Threatens to Ban Kids' Meal Toys

The quick meal via a fast food drive-thru is a common way to feed the kids and when it comes with a toy -- even better, right?

Not so, says one California lawmaker.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Chuck Yeager wants to stop eateries from handing out toys with fatty, high calorie meals. He plans to ask his colleagues Tuesday to order up a law regulating when fast-food outlets can serve toy cars, action figures and other freebies as part of their children's' menus.

Yeager says the toys entice young customers to load up on high-calorie fare and may contribute to childhood obesity.

"They want the toy and have no idea what's in the food," Yeager told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. "You can't expect a 3-year-old to say there are too many calories in that hamburger."

Depending on what staff members propose, the law either could ban toy giveaways at restaurants in the county or allow toys only to be included with healthy meals. California Restaurant Association spokesman Dan Conway says "taking the toys hostage" will not keep children from becoming overweight.

Conway points out how fast food chains have changed over the years, offering fruit slices, salads, juices and other healthy alternatives.

A toy ban would turn the kids' menus into "unhappy meals" not only for tots but for parents who have to try a little harder at meal times., And let's not forget about the grown-ups who buy the meals just to add to their collection of kids toys.

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