McDonald’s is Cheating

Photo: SF Chronicle / David Paul Morris for Getty Images

Last year, San Francisco’s board of supervisors passed a law intended to limit toy giveaways in kiddie meals at fast food establishments. Happy Meals, as we all know, are an effective tool to get kids hooked on nutrient void, sodium and fat laden McDonald’s fare, thus turning tots into lifelong loyal customers.

San Francisco’s Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance was intended to be another tool to help families make healthier choices. No more toys as a means to lure kids to an unhealthy meal. Unfortunately, McDonald’s found a loophole and is now charging 10 cents from parents who want the happy meal to include the toy. And what parent  child wouldn’t?

With childhood obesity on a rampage, you’d expect corporations to lend a helping hand in trying to solve the problem, not to undermine local government’s efforts.

This is just another irritating example of how companies that manufacture unhealthy food circumvent the law and undermine public’s health. Whether it’s the trans-fat loophole, the generous sprinkling the term “Natural” on highly processed foods, some companies simply place their profits ahead of our wellbeing.

McDonald’s Franchisee Scott Rodrick should be ashamed of himself. Instead of taking the ordinance as an opportunity to improve the menu at McDonald’s in a very progressive town like San Francisco, he is shamelessly bypassing the spirit of the law.

Get FooducatediPhone App Android App  RSS Subscription or  Email Subscription

Follow us on twitter: twitter.com/fooducate on facebook: facebook.com/fooducate

Get Fooducated

  • Biermeister

    Nope, McDonald’s shouldn’t be ashamed. The government should be ashamed for trying to run businesses!

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Through better regulation of the food industry, perhaps the government will protect you from having to pay more taxes to support obesity related healthcare costs (last year – $170,000,000,000)

      • Biermeister

        Still disagree with the intervention of government in free enterprise. Parents make the choice to let their kids eat McDonalds. toy or not.

        • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

          Intervention is not bad if the overall benefit to the public is increased. If we take your approach, smoking laws would not exist and seat belts would not be required in cars, for example. Oh, and monopolies would exist too, because economies of scale would dictate M&A’s til only one big corp would be left in each industry. 
          So while capitalism and free enterprise are a wonderful means of wealth and value creation, there needs to be oversight and regulation in the public’s interest.

          • Jason Swafford

            Sorry, but simply removing a toy from a meal doesn’t make the meal less unhealthy.  Education, not the forced regulation of marketing, will only improve decisions.  Kids learn from their parents.  Parents feeding their kids fast food on a regular basis are also feeding their kids with unhealthy selections from the local grocery store.  If McDonald’s is required to remove all toys, then so should every cereal box, snack cake, or unhealthy item promoting anything other than the food inside. Government control and oversight is not the answer.  Education is.

          • Kate Heuchera

            I’d agree if we are going to target McDonalds, time to target any food item that is any way marketed to kids.

            I’m not sure Larabars make a huge effort to market to kids, but I think is hilarious when people call them a healthy snack  in the obesity fight…they are a very calorie dense product, and you can get fat on so called healthy food.

          • Stardust

            But calories from a larabar are healthy calories. 200 calories of healthy food is not the same as 200 calories of junk.

          • Havoc49783

            when it becomes a societal problem, ie. more illesses and costs associated with that and ppl do not employ their common sense nor their education (lack of is truly the problem but how do u fix that one?).  so if ppl cannot on thier own make healthy choices i feel the govt is justified. 

          • Havoc49783

            when it becomes a societal problem, ie. more illesses and costs associated with that and ppl do not employ their common sense nor their education (lack of is truly the problem but how do u fix that one?).  so if ppl cannot on thier own make healthy choices i feel the govt is justified. 

          • Biermeister

            I agree! I’m against gov’t interference in private establishments.  If a private entity wants to allow smoking, then great!  I don’t have to give them my money.  It’s pretty awesome.  I can choose!

          • Leojm

            I absolutely agree with you, I believe the government should be small in our everyday lives and not controlling us.

          • Leojm

            I absolutely agree with you, I believe the government should be small in our everyday lives and not controlling us.

          • Leojm

            I absolutely agree with you, I believe the government should be small in our everyday lives and not controlling us.

          • Leojm

            I absolutely agree with you, I believe the government should be small in our everyday lives and not controlling us.

          • py

            Apples and oranges.  Smoking laws and seatbelt laws cannot be placed in the same arena as toys in happy meals. I sometimes wonder how on earth I was able to raise 2 healthy girls in an environment where toys were placed in their McDonalds meals :-/  Oh wait, I know! As the RESPONSIBLE parent I made sure these types of meals were offered as a rare treat vs as “their daily bread”  Parents should and MUST start owning responsibility for their children. Trust me, we do not want the big hand of government to be taking such a role!. 

          • Elizabeth

            I totally agree. This is 100% on the parents. Don’t take your kids to McDonalds. Period. My oldest son is 4 years old and I don’t think he has ever heard of a “happy meal” – he has no idea what that is — or that it contains a toy. McD’s is NEVER an option for us…never.  This should have NOTHING to do with the government. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SS65ETU36F76MIC4SKGVCHEQIE The Vole

            And where do you live?  A nice affluent area?  Go visit South Central L.A. where there is fast food (with their dollar-meal items) on almost every streetcorner, and a lot of poverty.  People feed their kids there because a) they have no easy transportation, b) almost every new restaurant that opens there is a fast food joint and c) they work sometimes more than one job just to make ends meet, and this is what they have time for.  Whoopeedoo for your children and your ‘never’ option.  Go try living in So-Central for a week, if you dare. 

          • Mike Bersani

            And.that my friend is the problem: McDonald’s prays upon and enslaves people who lack the resources to obtain better food choices and have to get the biggest bang for their food buck to feed themselves and their families. Do you buy the cheap dollar meal or a bag of carrots. McDonald’s markets to this conundrum and using children is an intregal part of their marketing strategy

          • Mad Dad

            You make it sound like only poor kids in South Central L.A. are obese. I see it everywhere I look. We have transportation and live in the bread basket of America. What is the excuse there? As for MCD they offer healthier options on their value meal. I eat fast food sometimes because of where I work. Salads and baked potatoes with tap water. This is done for $2-3 which is well under the typical happy meal price. There are grilled chicken sandwich options too. However as parents it is often easier to give kids what they want than educate them as to what they really need. So now you can buy the toy and give them salad and potato. Sounds like a win to me.

          • Kimlj

            you know what? The parents don’t have to take their kids to McDonalds.

          • JDD

            Yes! My daughter is almost 4, and she has no idea what a happy meal is. We hardly ever eat fast food (once a month, if that), and the reason she never eats the stuff is because I decide what she puts in her mouth. Regulations or not, I choose to buy healthy foods because I know that HFCS, Aspartame, Azodicarbonamide, etc. are bad and I don’t want her eating that stuff. There are a lot of people who I talk to who buy “Smartones” or things that say “healthy” on them, thinking that they are purchasing things that are good for you. EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION!

          • Supersonic

             Smoking laws shouldn’t exist since secondhand smoke is a myth.  For people who don’t feel like researching that just youtube P&T Bullshit! Smoking and you should get enough facts there.

            Seat belts should also not be required, common sense should dictate wear a seat belt or risk increased chance of death.

            Comparing micro scale issues such as seat belt usage and smoking to monopolies is ridiculous and you should feel ashamed.

          • Deoxy

            So, if removing you from society is an overall benefit to the public, that’s a good intervention? Nice standard you have there. Seriously, that’s insane.
            Smoking laws SHOULDN’T exist – and I HATE smoke and have asthmatic children! Many of the restaurants in my area have gone smoke-free… WITHOUT any law making them do so. We don’t go to restaurants that allow smoking – everyone is free to do as they like, and the government can go kill itself.
            Seat belt laws? SAME THING! It’s none of the government’s business. I always wear a seat belt (feel naked without it), but that’s my choice.
            And, historically speaking, almost all monopolies are achieved with the HELP of the government, so no, we don’t need the government involved – just stay out of it and don’t create the problem in the first place, ok?

        • Engel_robin

          True. It starts at home. Businesses are in business cause we , as families support them. The responsibility is on the consumer. Let the consumer stop supporting a business and see what happens. Government has enough control. People need to discipline themselves. Without discipline if it’s not McDonalds it will be some other company preying on families. America is the only country that spends tons of money on marketing. Wake up America.

          • Kyn

            McDonald’s is not preying on anyone. Everyone, parents, men, women,etc. have the choice to eat what they want. You can go home and cook your own unhealthy meal if you choose to. People can also choose to fix healthy meals as well. And why pick at McDonald’s when there is a plethora of fast food places riddled across the country. A fast food treat once in a while won’t hurt, as long as you eat properly most of the time. As far as kids go, that is up to the parent/parents to take responsibility in a childs diet. The once in a while treat should be just that, once in a while.

        • Leojm

          I agree with you!!!

      • BlueCollarCritic

        No it won’t!  The mega coirporations will bribe whomever they need in order to get what they want so that only the little guy gets screwed.  Its fools like you who use government to force others to act as you think they should that have helped our country down the path to a police state.

      • Supersonic

         Introduce a fat tax and a sugar tax.  Make fat people pay for themselves if its occurring costs.  Make people pay for their right to be fat, don’t try to side step the issue by removing individual liberty.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1670627484 Mark W. Anderson

        Food Nazi.

    • http://www.thefrugaldietitian.com Nancy – The Frugal Dietitian

      It starts with the parents BUT government needs to run better programs -starting with SNAP (food stamps) and the school lunch program before they micromanage businesses. WIC did it!!

      • Reddrida

        AMEN!!  It’s amazing that America has the most Obese “poor” people in the world!  Also, at the first of every month, these folks have 2 cart loads of JUNK food and SODA’S and that shouldn’t be. They absolutely need to look at the programs they are responsible for first, then perhaps branch out elsewhere.  

        • bodiddley

          Hear ye! hear ye!  My wife’s side of the family has a whole group of unemployed, welfare cases. To some degree, these people need help… but to some degree, we’ve honestly seen them spend what little resources they have on JUNK rather than healthier (and cheaper!!!) alternatives.  They continually play the victim card, as they slop down unhealthy choices (all are morbidly obese) and continue having MORE CHILDREN. it’s a downward spiral.

           I’m sounding quite Republican here… but am a complete, bleeding-heart, liberal, Democrat to the core. I yearn for some idealistic society where everyone has help and support – but to see people making their own lives miserable is just too much. There are people who need a  leg up, homeless shelters full of families who really are TRYING- that’s the key. There is a difference between apathy and hard luck. Those who really will put in the time and work for things – I think we should never stop giving. But bad choices yield bad results. I’m all for educating… but it’s up to people in the situation to take the steps. Doing it FOR people (as in government-mandated eating requirements) exacerbates the problem.

          It’s the same old adage as helping a suicidal person. You CAN’T and SHOULDN’T fix the problem for them. They feel powerless (therefore suicidal) and if you fix things for them you are making it worse by not empowering them. Same thing with obesity and fast-food. If you fix things for people, the underlying behavior doesn’t change… just a band-aid that will soon fall off, and the cycle starts all over again.

    • katie

      the same businesses that contributes to unhealthy people? yes, people make their own decisions, but not all people are aware of the processes it takes to create these “foods” and perhaps they should educate themselves on that, if they care what’s good for them. but, the government is SUPPOSED TO protect us, and allowing companies to put chemicals into our food isn’t right, especially when children are involved. part of the answer to this problem is EDUCATION. i don’t agree with the government interfering with businesses, unless the businesses are doing something wrong or negatively affecting people/the environment, in which case i believe fast food restaurants take part in. think about this: what are the reasons we have a health care crisis in the united states? one answer, is unhealthy people. why? because people are making poor decisions. it sickens me how much people crave disease-laden fast food…and how people litter when they’re done eating it on their drive home. 

  • T.

    This isn’t really surprising but I can attest that the toys DO make a difference – I can attest to this. For years now Ive been loading up on little cheap dollar store/craft store finds. When I pack my now 8 year olds lunch with something that is particularly “healthy” aka new and not her favourite – I include a dollar store toy – if she eats the new offending healthy food she can play with it. I now have a 8 year old that eats more interesting things then most kids in her class!

    • T.

      sorry about first sentence typo – 6 months pregnant with a 2 year old and  8 year old its impressive I can still read lol

  • http://www.thefrugaldietitian.com Nancy – The Frugal Dietitian

    But it is still the parents, etc. taking the kids there.

    • sam

      some go with friends are alone. not always parents fault you know stop being ignorant please

  • Kate Heuchera

    I don’t see this as all being the same as the government getting involved in seat belt laws and smoking.  People can still eat unhealthily without ever stepping foot into a McDonalds.   Some rural areas near us have no big name fast food restaurants…but there is still the same struggle with obesity.

    I have to admit this is the part of the food debate that makes me really uncomfortable….at what point will the regulation stop?  I think there is a hidden agenda here, where a few want to make decisions for all.  That statement is in no way an endorsement of McDonalds.

    I’m not always certain that the toys are quite the draw people make them out to be.  From what I see the current toy for boys is Bakugan…if you don’t like Bakugan a toy like that holds no appeal.

    • Cartoonguy_99

      “People can still eat unhealthily without ever stepping foot into a McDonalds.”

      ^^^This X1000.

      Regulating McDs is just as stupid as the new Butter Tax in Europe.

  • Unclelarry123

    Let’s blame McDonalds…..no, LET’S BLAME THE PARENTS! It’s not the governments job. But it seems that everyone wants the government to tell us what to eat, etc. it all comes down to who is dropping the cash….the parents. They are the ones making their kids fat. You don’t want kids to eat McDonald’s? Then don’t take them there!

    • sam

      this happens becAUSE PEOPLE CANT MAKE GOOD HABITS FOR EATING

  • Mikal_penn

    Cocksucker roach

  • jnwalsh1

    “With childhood obesity on a rampage, you’d expect corporations to lend a helping hand in trying to solve the problem, not to undermine local government’s efforts.” Ummmm….no.  Corporations exist to make profit for shareholders.  And corporations and government have had their hands in each other’s deep pockets for decades. As much as I advocate for eating whole foods and avoiding processed/corporate junk, that is because I believe in responsibility and educating myself.  The government’s not in the business of outlawing poisons that kill slowly nor do I believe it should be.  I don’t want the government snooping in my computer, checking transactions in my bank account, regulating my ovaries or uterus or telling Mr. Big Mac Lover that he can’t eat crap or telling McDonald’s that it can’t sell crap.  We live in a free, fair market society  – for better or for worse — and there is no evidence whatsoever that measures like this will improve the eating habits of a single American for even a day.  A generation raised on Pop Tarts and cartoon advertisement is now raising its own children the same way.

  • jnwalsh1

    “With childhood obesity on a rampage, you’d expect corporations to lend a helping hand in trying to solve the problem, not to undermine local government’s efforts.” Ummmm….no.  Corporations exist to make profit for shareholders.  And corporations and government have had their hands in each other’s deep pockets for decades. As much as I advocate for eating whole foods and avoiding processed/corporate junk, that is because I believe in responsibility and educating myself.  The government’s not in the business of outlawing poisons that kill slowly nor do I believe it should be.  I don’t want the government snooping in my computer, checking transactions in my bank account, regulating my ovaries or uterus or telling Mr. Big Mac Lover that he can’t eat crap or telling McDonald’s that it can’t sell crap.  We live in a free, fair market society  – for better or for worse — and there is no evidence whatsoever that measures like this will improve the eating habits of a single American for even a day.  A generation raised on Pop Tarts and cartoon advertisement is now raising its own children the same way.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      “A generation raised on Pop Tarts and cartoon advertisement is now raising its own children the same way.” 
      Exactly. 

      And that is not sustainable for the long term. 

      The logic of a central government is to make our lives better than without it (go back 10,000 years to the anarchy of small tribes and see if you’d like it). 

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with government regulating various industries. That ways, companies maximize their profits, but *within* the rules set by government to protect the interest of the public.

      • Michelle

        Government regulations (like corn subsidies, perchance?) are part of the reason junk food is so artificially cheap in the first place. No thanks! Government + business = unintended consequences, always, and it’s why our corporatist (don’t make me laugh by calling it capitalist) economy is so screwed up.

        And I ate plenty of crap growing up, and I now learned to eat more naturally I (primal/paleo!) and my future family will be raised the same way. And it had nothing to do with the government doing anything (in fact, if you do any reading on primal living, you’ll see that politics in the health and farming industries are what is causing a lot of obesity related problems in america, due to heavy pushing of low fat and carb based diets! I probably sound crazy… but just do some reading…)

        • jnwalsh1

          I’m with you.  Fooducate, look at the ridiculous subsidies the government gives to the completely WRONG crops; the way-too-grain-heavy (hmmm. Why *was* that?) food pyramid that was the recommended “balanced” diet for decades, and the slightly-less-stupid “plate” that Uncle Sam is pushing now? Do we really trust the government to devise a “healthy” diet or decide how much of which ingredients should be in foods? I certainly don’t.  The scariest words you’ll ever hear? “We’re from the government. We’re here to help you!”  No thanks.  

        • jnwalsh1

          I’m with you.  Fooducate, look at the ridiculous subsidies the government gives to the completely WRONG crops; the way-too-grain-heavy (hmmm. Why *was* that?) food pyramid that was the recommended “balanced” diet for decades, and the slightly-less-stupid “plate” that Uncle Sam is pushing now? Do we really trust the government to devise a “healthy” diet or decide how much of which ingredients should be in foods? I certainly don’t.  The scariest words you’ll ever hear? “We’re from the government. We’re here to help you!”  No thanks.  

      • Cartoonguy_99

        “The logic of a central government is to make our lives better than
        without it (go back 10,000 years to the anarchy of small tribes and see
        if you’d like it). ”
        They were eating completely unprocessed foods then. So, there’s that.

        “There is absolutely nothing wrong with government regulating various
        industries. That ways, companies maximize their profits, but *within*
        the rules set by government to protect the interest of the public.”

        Companies make a profit whether there is over-regulation or not. Guess who pays the bill of the over-regulation? The cost is passed on to the consumer.

  • jnwalsh1

    “With childhood obesity on a rampage, you’d expect corporations to lend a helping hand in trying to solve the problem, not to undermine local government’s efforts.” Ummmm….no.  Corporations exist to make profit for shareholders.  And corporations and government have had their hands in each other’s deep pockets for decades. As much as I advocate for eating whole foods and avoiding processed/corporate junk, that is because I believe in responsibility and educating myself.  The government’s not in the business of outlawing poisons that kill slowly nor do I believe it should be.  I don’t want the government snooping in my computer, checking transactions in my bank account, regulating my ovaries or uterus or telling Mr. Big Mac Lover that he can’t eat crap or telling McDonald’s that it can’t sell crap.  We live in a free, fair market society  – for better or for worse — and there is no evidence whatsoever that measures like this will improve the eating habits of a single American for even a day.  A generation raised on Pop Tarts and cartoon advertisement is now raising its own children the same way.

  • jnwalsh1

    “With childhood obesity on a rampage, you’d expect corporations to lend a helping hand in trying to solve the problem, not to undermine local government’s efforts.” Ummmm….no.  Corporations exist to make profit for shareholders.  And corporations and government have had their hands in each other’s deep pockets for decades. As much as I advocate for eating whole foods and avoiding processed/corporate junk, that is because I believe in responsibility and educating myself.  The government’s not in the business of outlawing poisons that kill slowly nor do I believe it should be.  I don’t want the government snooping in my computer, checking transactions in my bank account, regulating my ovaries or uterus or telling Mr. Big Mac Lover that he can’t eat crap or telling McDonald’s that it can’t sell crap.  We live in a free, fair market society  – for better or for worse — and there is no evidence whatsoever that measures like this will improve the eating habits of a single American for even a day.  A generation raised on Pop Tarts and cartoon advertisement is now raising its own children the same way.

  • Hr

    I have four kids. When eating out mcd’s is never an option. All you have to do is say no. Eventually they stop asking . It’s really not rocket science.

    • Cartoonguy_99

      By denying the thing, you will make it something to covet. When they get a little freedom your totalitarianism they’re going to lose their minds and eat nothing but junk. Educate them, give them choices (sometimes) and let them have a treat (sometimes). Moderation, what a concept.

      • HILLS143@GMAIL.COM

        Moderation, huh?
        That sounds wise.

  • MarkStevens

    I totally agree that every company engaged in the business of selling food to the public, to families and their kids or not, should be mindful of the role they play in trying to improve the sad state of affairs when it comes to nutritional intake in this country. That would include mcdonalds. I take my own kids to McDonald’s for the occasional treat once per month. Shouldn’t the city be focused on school district lunches, where our youngsters are fed 20 times per month? Just for fun, I went to the SF district lunch program website and guess what, their own meals would not qualify on calorie counts alone for this happy toy ordinance. Do as I say, not as I do! LOL. While they have not introduced a veggie burger in a kids meal yet, given mcdonalds some credit for forcing apple slices in every happy meal and cutting the size of the starch in half. My kids have hardly noticed and yikes, they are eating all of the apples now.

    • Kate Heuchera

      I don’t know about San Francisco, but where I live the school district and municipal government are separate entities, and rarely try to work together.

  • Gerome

    For all you champions of the free market and no government intervention in this situation (yes, Biermeister, I’m speaking to you). While I am generally in your corner when it comes to letting the market sort things out, in this case the playing field is tilted in favor of the burger providers. When you argue for the government to get out of this regulation,it sounds as if you have no clue what the effects of the corn subsidies are. In brief, cheap corn makes the soda cheap, the beef cheap and that crappy bread that has HFCS also cheap. So, the government has made this food less expensive. I say if the burger makers want to walk away from the policy that make them rich, fine. Since that is not going to happen any time soon, how about they submit to some regulation. I agree ith Fooducate here. McDonald’s should be ashamed. Oh, and by the way, this is evidence that those toys work to bring in customers!

    • Weajunior

      I recently watched a documentary that also showed evidence that because of the low standards and high demands for their beef, potatos and apples, Macdonalds more or less dicatates the quality of all beef, potatos and apples you buy anywhere. It’s scary to see just how much impact they have on our lives even if we avoid them altogether…

  • Danieljcaccamo

    Easy rule to follow. If the food comes in your auto through a window don’t eat it.

  • Danieljcaccamo

    Easy rule to follow. If the food comes in your auto through a window don’t eat it.

  • Cartoonguy_99

    Good for McDonalds!!! Outsmarting Know-it-all Nanny State Politicians isn’t that hard but hey, if McDs makes the smarter-than-thous look like the idiots they are, I’m all for it.
    Here’s an idea: get out of our personal lives. While you legislate no toys in fast food you’re out eating filet Mignon with compound butter (how many cals in that?) on the public’s dime. Hypocrisy much?

    • Gerome

      Shrill stereotype much? Heh, the Internet is full of blowhards who throw opinion around to see what sticks. Welcome to the discussion.

      • Anadk

        That’s what the comment section is for.

    • Gerome

      Shrill stereotype much? Heh, the Internet is full of blowhards who throw opinion around to see what sticks. Welcome to the discussion.

  • Kate Heuchera

    For those who are for government regulation, and cite things like car seats as positive examples of government intervention, does no one remember Prohibition?

    Does no one think the call for more government intervention will have a backlash, in the way people think?

    • Gerome

      For those who are for government regulation, and cite things like car
      seats as positive examples of government intervention, does no one
      remember the disaster of corn subsidies?

      Sorry Kate, but the government IS ALREADY INTERFERING IN FAVOR OF MCDONALD’S. Sorry to shout there, but for God’s sake, the government has already jammed their noses into this stinking mess and are PROMOTING FOODS THAT PROMOTE DISEASE!!!

      Who can anyone take a position that marketing to children who don’t know any better is permissible when we have made this crap so cheap?

      Answer THAT question. Or better yet, let McD’s answer it: would they like the freedom to give away toys in exchange for loss of corn subsidies?

      • FoodiesSUCK

        Your “question” is incoherent Gerome, you flaming asshole. Snotty self-righteous attltude and you can’t even form a meaningful query. Excellent example of your average run-of-the-mill screwball foodie piece of shit. Stuff your head back up your ass, Gerome, and bark your stupid-assed opinions at your spleen, dipshit.

      • Guest

        Answer what question? It’s gibberish, man! “Who can anyone what…” Huh?? Not exactlly a rocket scientist. Maybe a 3rd grader?

        • Gerome

          Sorry — I need a spellchecker! “Wow can anyone…” Apologies.

      • Kate Heuchera

        Gerome, I’m not sure what you are saying here…if you are talking about getting rid of the corn subsidies, fine.   That is completely different from the toy issue.

        In many people’s minds, the government making something more forbidden just makes it that much more desirable.

        • Flatulence Meter Triggered

          Gerome is just passing gas. Ignore him.

        • Gerome

          No Kate, the issues are related. Our government interferes with the price of the key commodity necessary to make a McDonald’s meal inexpensive. They have tinkered with the market. Part of the reason people choose McDonald’s or any other food for that matter, is value, and our government has contributed to making McDonald’s a good value through subsidies.

          If corn subsidies were eliminated, and who knows, replaced with subsidies on vegetable and fruit crops that can’t be converted into sugar or cattle feed, McDonalds could offer a better-for-you meal with those cheaper veggies (maybe), or raise their prices.

          Read this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1247588/

          It speaks to the effects of subsidies.

          So, my feeling is that while ordinarily the decision to hand out a toy with a meal should be a choice of the company selling the meal, in this case, where the government has made the McDonald’s meal more attractive AND less nutritious — with disastrous results for our children’s health — the City of San Francisco is within their rights (and responsibilities) to restrict the marketing to children. And, on the other hand, if there were no corn subsidy, the City could butt out.

          Kate you mention one failed regulatory effort — prohibition. Would you, by the same token (or any of you) criticize the heavy taxation of cigarettes and bans on using an animated camel as a pitchman?  (That’s just selling to the kid in all of us after all.)

          I truly admire all of you who say that parents should just tell kids “no”. But it is simplistic to think that all parents can manage all situations they same way you do.

          Bottom line, we are already restricting marketing to children. This is no different except it is at a city level.

          Kate to your comment: “In many people’s minds, the government making something more forbidden just makes it that much more desirable.” Can you apply that reasoning to higher cigarette prices and restrictions and the decrease in smoking? I don’t think taking away a toy at McDonald’s makes a child want a burger all the more.

          • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

            Thanks Gerome for this well articulated rebuttal. 

          • Anonymous

             Gerome,
            That was a load of crap.
            You just argued that the government “subsidizes” McDonalds because it subsidizes CORN?

            You mean… because of all of the CORN on the menu at McDonalds???
            Because that defeats your argument that the government should subsidize VEGETABLES, of which, corn just happens to be.

            Oh wait… I can hear your 3 degrees of subsidies removed argument coming now.  Because the government subsidizes corn, and because corn feeds cattle, and because McDonalds makes burgers…?
            Is that the logical roller coaster you’re on?

            Because IF you’re arguing that, then you’re in fact arguing that ALL of us are being subsidized.  At least… anyone who eats meat.
            Which I can get why that makes vegetarians antsy… but its not the same as “subsidizing McDonalds”.

          • Anonymous

             ”the City of San Francisco is within their rights (and responsibilities) to restrict the marketing to children.”

            It is, if you believe that the government needs to be looking over your shoulder to make sure you do good by your kid.
            If, on the other hand, you’re an adult who actually takes care of a kid… then you don’t need the government to say that you can’t actually try to sell stuff to kids.

            You’re advocating a nanny state on steroids.
            And not the kind that you’d accuse McDonalds of using.

  • Kate Heuchera

    For those who are for government regulation, and cite things like car seats as positive examples of government intervention, does no one remember Prohibition?

    Does no one think the call for more government intervention will have a backlash, in the way people think?

  • JLo

    Public Health should be individuals responsibility, all these laws that are for the greater good of the public will lead down the path to a police state. If the government was so concerned they would have done a better job in educating the public in better choices, and the public choices will drive the demand for companies like McDonald’s to change. Government needs to stop trying to be a parent to everyone, and focus on doing more with less and stop over taxing the people wasting time on laws that have no real use since when it comes down to it we still have the right to make our own choices. Right? 

    • jlol

      I totally agree… if people really want a government to “parent” its citizens, why not demand better education and discourage rampant consumerism? These stopgap laws are just the government’s way of embracing today’s “lazy parenting” culture.

  • Kmr

    Why do people constantly have to bash fast food restaurants? If parents cannot say no and BE THE PARENT, then they should not blame McDonald’s! If you don’t want your kid to eat fast food, don’t take them there! Government should not be regulating restaurants…maybe they should take a stand on basic parenting!

    • Kayrenea

      your missing the whole point,, this is about all the chemicals in the food, ,not about parenting

      • Anonymous

         First off, it IS about parenting.  We’re talking, here, about having the government step in to be your surrogate parent.
        That’s not cool.
        Secondly, there is absolutely NOTHING in this article about ‘the chemicals’.  Its about how McDonalds is trying to market themselves to the people who might eat their food.  And why wouldn’t they?

        It makes sense to a restaurant chain to try to please their customers.  If the customer is a 7 y.o., then of course they’re going to attach a toy to the meal.  Particularly if the toy only costs a quarter.
        If the toy gets the kid to want to come to their restaurant, it increases the chances that when the parent asks the kid “what do you want for dinner?” the kid will say “MCDONALDS!”

        Its marketing.  Its valid.
        The government has no business sticking its huge head into this.

        • Mbox

           I’m not completely against MDs but what if they started giving away cocaine with their meals, would you think that the government should sick its huge head in then?

          • Mike

            Cocaine is illegal. Toys — last I checked — are not.

          • Deoxy

            I think the government should get it’s huge head out of the drug war, too – drugs are indeed bad, but government intervention is a cure that is worse than the disease… and, as a free bonus, doesn’t actually cure the problem, either!

    • Anuraghus

      That is a great idea, but seeing how it has worked out till now something has to be done. If parents were responsible we wouldn’t be having this conversation today. Yes, we can let our kids be obese and not have government do anything but then we would be worse off than where we are today.

    • Luckyjax19

      I was invites by a family member to eat at mcdonalds, my 3 yr old son refused to even eat the fries there. I raises him on fresh fruits and veggies. I want him to learn to eat healthy now so he won’t have heart problems later. It’s working

  • moodymoose77

    Please stop blaming McDonalds for childhood obesity. Parents are the problem when instead of making McDonalds a treat once in a while, They take them 3 or more times a week and give them non stop juices and junk at home. No one wants to take responsibility any more!

  • Mrsburgett

    Very disappointing read.
    Liked this app till I read this. Are you serious!? It is not McDonalds fault parents don’t say no to their children. Even if the governmen forced McDonalds to go to an all fruits & veggies menu & McDonalds complied completely it would not fix the problem.
    Educate not regulate! I educate my 3 kids on healthy eating. They choose to go to the local fruit stand to pick out their treat instead of get fast food. Education, I can not stress it enough. But if someone wants to eat unhealthy it will not matter what McDonalds does.
    As for the argument that regulation may keep taxes from going up because of obese people. That is the most rediculous thing I have heard! People are going to eat what they choose to eat. If it is not available they will choose the closest thing to it.
    Fast food is not the problem. Weak parents that choose convenience over health is. Weak parents who don’t want to permanently shatter their fragile little babies hearts and send them into therapy as adults because Mommy & Daddy didn’t love them enough to get them a McDonalds happy meal with a toy, so they make it a 3 day a week meal. They are the problem.

  • Lin Franklin

    Good for McDonald’s. Isn’t this economy pretty much supply and demand. It i up to the parent’s to not buy these products. If I want an overweight child who is unhealthy that is my right. I have my own health insurance I pay for. Even WIC hands out juice like it is fantastic for kids. My kids have no juice (at home or given by me) and eat healthy. That is my choice. By no means do I think I am superior enough to judge another and impose my choices…and the government should think it is either. Good for McDonald’s for running a business the way a business should be run. Don’t want it? Do not buy it!

  • Troublecook

    GO GO SF if only there is SF  in the midwest even  in state of MISS and Ga  i would like to see  the dramatic changes in the menu for the kids and adults!!! I dine them  once a month, mainly their salad and #2 breakfast meaL(look that up which I had it last Sat before that,  about two months!) they serve the all american meal but recerntly have been off hand  to current heath concerns. HEY  BEEF IT UP WITH CHECKEN AND VEGEABLES I hav esome sokme ideas!! smile  

  • BlueCollarCritic

    “McDonald’s Franchisee Scott Rodrick should be ashamed of himself. “I’m no fan of McDonalds or the Global corporations of the world who get unethical actions because they own the politicians however it is the author of this piece and all the other mindless zombies in San Francisco who passed this egregious ordinance that should be ashamed!
     
    Yes the fast food is bad for you and parents should NOT be feeding McDonalds to their kids like they do (I don’t feed my kids McDonalds food) .  However it’s the mindless idiots like the author of this piece and the fools in California that are the real danger.  Using government in an effort to force better dietary habits is a very dangerous and foolish action. Thanks to morons like this the government has taken the self-initiative to enforce other dietary restrictions elsewhere such as the banning of raw milk.  I bet you idiots that cheered for this San Francisco ordinance aren’t so quick to cheer for the ban on raw milk are you?
     
    NEVER use government to force anyone to do anything that you think is better for them. 

  • NH Grey

    Poor San Fran. Such a lovely city so unfortunately located in the United States of America, a place with which it holds very little in common. The hippies are nice and they mean well, they just have trouble with personal responsibility and common sense. 

    • shorne1

      Everything is so complicated now right Gramps?

  • Lee

    It is the parents job to feed their children well, not the governments! I don’t see the problem. Big brother said you can’t give away a toy in a meal he deemed unhealthy and that is exactly what McDonalds had done. They no longer give away the toy for free. Now the parent once again must be the boss and say “No” or “Yes” if they so choose. If they do say “yes” then maybe big brother will see that they can’t tell us what to do.

  • Dena Stanwood

    Its my choice if I want to give my kids the occasional happy meal as a treat and have the toy….no government,state or county entity should be able to tell me otherwise…granted some people take it overboard but not all of us do

    • Leojm

      I agree with you all the way!! The problem is that the government has been controlling our lives. we need to show the government that the government does not have the choice and right to tell us what we should eat and when we should eat.

  • Tulip_potter

    McDonalds simply disgusts me. Especially when things like this happen to children. McDonalds lures kids in for their delicious yet extremely unhealthy happy-meals with a kiddie toy. I have to say I LIKED McDonalds and then realized what I’m exactly putting into my body. I will not be eating at McDonalds again.

  • Delaina910

    Are the kids the ones driving themselves to McDonald’s, paying for it with their hard-earned money? The answer is a painfully obvious no. I think we know who is REALLY at fault here for allowing the kids to eat this junk to begin with. And whatever happened to parents saying no to their kids, anyway?

  • Eali1693

    Not true kids are going to eat Mcdonalds wether there is a toy or not… It’s the parent job to control their child’s eating habits. As well as their weight, to assume that it is the Corporation’s job/fault is illogical.

  • Eali1693

    Not true kids are going to eat Mcdonalds wether there is a toy or not… It’s the parent job to control their child’s eating habits. As well as their weight, to assume that it is the Corporation’s job/fault is illogical.

  • Trlkly

    No, it’s an example of a state trying to control the lives of it citizens, and a food company fighting back. You do not have the the right to MAKE people eat healthier. If you have a problem paying the health costs of people who choose to eat in a way you don’t like, then champion for that to be fixed. The second you try to make people do something, you’re no better than those pro-life people you decry. Heck, at least they are trying to prevent what they think is murder.

    Oh, and they aren’t exploiting a loophole in the law. They are showing how completely unworkable such a law is, since they can always sell the toys separately, and they can always allow a discount based on something else you’ve bought. It just goes to show how completely unknowledgeable the people who came up with this were. Is it any wonder that California is so horribly in debt, when lawmakers don’t even understand basic economics?

  • Frank

    The parents should be able to say no to their kids or reserve MDs as a treat. What about focusing efforts on having less government intervention and be responsible for ourselves, instead of having the government slowly taking more control? Maybe we are this ignorant because the government aids our dependency…

  • Supersonic

    Be a parent, don’t expect the government to keep overstepping its bounds to counteract your ineptitude.

  • urxc

    just don’t bring your kids to mcdonalds – it’s as simple as that.

  • Blueeyeddaisy17

    Its ok for people to buy candy/soda/chips, etc  with food stamps? But government wants to say you can’t buy a happy meal with a toy?

  • Twistocain

    Let the kids have the damn toys. You got more than one as a kid you friggin killjoy. Or did momma not hug you enough?

  • bodiddley

    Can we stop referring to McDonald’s products as “food” please? They squirt out the edibles from the same nozzle as the Styrofoam containers, just different molds (ok, sorry to whichever comedian I just plagiarized).

    I agree wholeheartedly with the majority of people here – as a full-fledged Democrat, ironically, I don’t think it’s the government’s role to mandate parenting. It certainly is about the chemicals in these “meals” and this “food” – but MOST importantly, it is about a society that has become nothing but apathetic, litigious “vicitms.”

    Same people want the “talking picture box” to make sure their kids watch only what’s appropriate for them and schools to make their kids love reading and learning without the bother of parental involvement.

    right.

    • Queenofthemcannibals

      I know way more than you on this subject. I have met farmers for McDonald’s. Stop being ignorant and actually find out stuff before you post it out there.

      • sam

        they only show enough to make them look good.

  • Dodgergirl116

    Don’t blame FastFood wonder if that’s all can get is FastFood for there familys then what wonder if thats all they can afford to buy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562311209 Tina Dyck

    My kids love the toy, hate the fries. A burger and chocolate milk once in a while( even once a week)won’t kill them. I would be more worried about parents who think frosted animal crackers and chocolate covered granola bars are a good school snack. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JFBKOI7EXRX7MUJFO4JAI3LTQ4 James

    Profits, first and last.
    That said, there’s nothing wrong with making a buck. In their defense they are only selling what people want to buy. The trick will
    be to convince people to want to buy good, whole food. There have been
    some small gains in the past 20 years, but there is a long way to go.

  • Allaire Decoudres

    Some kids smoke, some drink, some do drugs, the goverment has tried to prevent these abuses with quite limited success. Parents truly involved in rearing their kids to be healthy, educated, and happy have the best opertunity to guide kids to learn to make the best choices for themselves. Those young parents are even going to be more successful if their parents join in activly partisipating with the same goals of raising healty educated happy kids. Dont limit it to just your kids, be suportive of every kid or young parent in a positive way, we all need help from those who count, especially kids and young parents. Ask yourself, Do I Count? If your a kid or parent of kids dont be afraid to ask for help from those you respect and would like to emulate.

    Asking goverment to do it is much less efective and a cop-out of parental duty. Adults need to mentor kids, Grand parents need to mentor new parents and not be so reluctant to share what they have learned, even if that highlights our past mistakes as kids or parents.

  • katie

    it’s the fault of parents and McDonald’s. i ate there when i was a kid, mostly because of the happy meals…. i wanted the 101 dalmations, furbies, and beanie babies toys. i look back at this now, utterly disgusted at how much i consumed. i haven’t eaten there is 5 years and will never eat it again, or feed it to my future children. it’s horribly processed cheap “food” . the fast food companies pretend to create healthy alternatives, they MAY sometimes be healthier than their counterpart, but usually it’s all deceiving. at this point, it’s up to the consumers to do research if they care about what they’re eating. these companies only want profit, they don’t care about our health.

  • Schw0821

    parents that take kids in to McDonalds are the problem, not the place serving the food. Take a little personal resposibility and dont turn this great nation into a nany state.

  • Havoc49783

    i think the point is that there is a larger picture lurking in the background. Corporations (& their board of directors) tend to have a bottom line mentality ie. more money.  Think they care if children are getting obese?  There is truth in what they put in their foods to make them more addictive, ie. flavorings, sodium, addivitves, preservatives, all becuase “they” want you to buy more of thier product.  People do no educate themselves enough to make healthy choices it seems and in the larger picture, ie higher rates of obesity and other illnesses borne of a very unhealthy diet, becomes a societal problem.  The gov’t should step in and regulate!

  • Popcrn101

    The blame needs to fall on the PARENTS who take their child to McDonald’s. McDonald’s is doing what they are supposed to do (in a free market economy), sell what the customer wants. The parents own feeding their children healthy food.

  • Queenofthemcannibals

    This is so stupid. Red Robin, Cheesecale Factory, and other dine in restaurants aren’t amazing for you either. Besides, they aren’t MAKING you buy food, you choose too. People blame McDonalds for all the fat people but they are bringing it among themselves!

  • Cisneross14

    It is indeed the lack of parenting that is contributing to this childhood obesity conflict, however this does not justify McDonald’s horrible food quality.

  • Anasarcarecords

    marketing is deception aimed at tricking people into wanting something they might not need

  • Karuna

    Yes it is about parents I think people who take their kids to a fast food are people the dont love their kids or just low, low educate people, who make this people this people are made by fast food companie and pharmaceuticals, they making humans as robots to go work eat fast junk in your car betwen jobs and by bunch of pills to durvive…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_64ZLTBOBTUZKPGEMNCMS2BEJQY Dave

    Simple solution – don’t go to McDonalds. I have not been to one for 40 years ever since I worked at one and quit when I found a co-worker putting dead flies under the patties…

  • Sean

    If people didn’t want to eat McDonald’s, they wouldn’t. Why do we need the local government to force them to change their business style?

  • Phillips_ivy

    They stopped putting toys in the sugary cereals and they are still bought. You can’t force feed children to eat healthy, they will grow up and hate those healthy foods.

  • L DS

    When we’d see the “Golden Arches” or any other fast food joint and beg to go, my folks – especially my grandmother – would simply keep driving. There was no discussion, yelling or comments. Parents treat fast food restaurants as their personal kitchen because they’re “quick and easy” or go home and pop in a microwave “meal” for convenience. Quick and easy convenience is what’s making kids (and their parents) fat and sick. To some people, 10 cents for a toy is a lot more “convenient” than having to be a real parent and say no some time. Better yet, just don’t turn up into the drive. Go home, cook…If one doesn’t know how, there is always the internet with plenty of free instructions.

  • Katyidd622

    Sorry, but taking a toy out of a happy meal doesn’t make it any healthier!  It’s ridiculous to waste time of lawyers and law-makers to focus on something silly like a plastic toy and not the actual food the meal is made of!!  So absurd!

  • floridaheather

    Please give me a break. The child cannot GO to McDonalds on his/her own. The parent/adult has to take the child. Let’s lay the responsibility where it is due: squarely in the hands of caregivers. They can say “no,” and, in fact, what is their role if not the decision makers responsible for the health & welfare of the child. There is nothing wrong w/ McDonalds once in a while, say twice a month, but using McDonalds to placate children or b/c parents do not have time for a healthier choice is NO excuse. This is not a “toy” issue at all. This is about parents QUITTING BLAMING MCD’S & OTHERS FOR THEIR CHOICES. Step up & own your own decisions good or bad!

  • Lebo6

    Call me crazy but I think when we moved from the country farmer to city dweller we lost some intelligence in our food. We now have two big things against us. Big pharma and big farma. Education is always better then regulation. So how do we educate city kids. Put square foot gardening into the school curriculum and let the kids grow veggies and fruits for the school, organically.

  • just Sharon

    Good comments..all fast food should be occasionally…when I was growing up..we went to fast food places once in awhile…otherwise my mother cooked dinner every nite…we also played outside…I didn’t sit in front of a computer playing video games…

  • Krulle

    I agree with MoodyMoose77.
    Same is for schools. Why is it a sport to blame others for the wrong upbringing of YOUR child?

    Further, if the franchisee sells the toys always for 10ct/piece, you cannot blame him. But if the cheap price is only valid if a kids meal is bought, then you can attack him via that.
    I’d go to SF McD to just buy the toys.

  • tiff

    its the fault of parents and the fast food restaurant. think about it would any of this be hapening if fast food didnt exist I dont think so. if fast food restaurants had the nutrifacts on everything then you could blame the parents alone.

  • angle

    Even though McDonalds isn’t the best place to go to for food, everyone knows that the person to blame is the parent if the parent cant say no and gives the child what they want they just gonna grow up being spoiled and fat.

  • TJ

    Someone give this person a friggin Happy Meal!

  • Frenchfry

    Looks to me like poor law drafting. Did no one in the law making department think ‘if we introduce this law, what will McD’s do?’. I’m surprised they made it a 10c charge, making it 1c would be very convenient at the paydesk eh?
    I guess what they need is a ‘star’ system for customers, like they do on the McD staff badges. You got 5 stars? Sorry, you’ve had too many burgers this week/today/this morning. Make it an indelible stamp, on the forehead, would also help the welfare. If you have eaten too many meals from McD’s, you get less payments. In the UK here, a large banana is around 25p, a happy meal is £2.39. Food for thought.

  • Karen

    I agree with most of what has been said in the comments, Food Addiction should be viewed in the same light as alcoholism and nicotine addiction. If alcoholics and smokers go to rehab because they have an unhealthy addiction that will quickly kill them, so should Obese Food Addicts.

  • mustafa hakimuddin

    it is the governments fault because they have made mcdonalds into a giant with a store around every corner and making it so convenient by subsidizing all their ingredients and making it cheaper. other countries have mcdonalds to but they dont have anywhere near the obesity rate that america has, the reason for this is that their is just one mcdonalds per town so its more convenient to make healthy food than it is to buy mcdonalds

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.h.morgan.5 Sharon Hadley Morgan

    i remember as a child always looking forward to the McDonald’s toy that I received with my meal as a treat. People are quick to blame the obesity problem on one thing,

    Parents are now required to work two jobs to support a family. This leaves less time to prepare meals. We also now have a depression where government subsidizes make it cheaper to buy prepackaged foods than to cook them ourselves.

    On top of that you have years of evolution telling us that high fat foods taste better…

    You can’t blame obesity on one company. Likewise, living in the untied states, you can’t tell people what they have the right to choose for their family or themselves. Instead, maybe, it might be beneficial to stop attacking and instead educate.. Blame has never served any purpose other than to make the blamer feel superior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shelley.bezona Shelley Brown Bezona

    Really? Seems to me we have free will. Shouldn’t it read…..shame on you parents? Blaming McDonalds for your child obesity? How about the parents who provide their children with xboxes, video games, iPods and iPads that provide built in babysitting along with the “don’t bother me now” attitude. Sitting on one’s ass all day makes one fat…..not McDonald’s. it is a parents responsibility to take care of their children’s health……..not the government. Idiots!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000834147336 Linda Gunderson

    Beyond the enticement of toys for the younger kids…. I recently surveyed a few of the teenagers in my high school class about their favorite fast food meal, and was somewhat shocked to learned that many of the boys ate 2 large sandwiches(like Big Macs), 2 servings of fries and a medium or large soda. Maybe what McDonald’s and other fast food chains needs is signs showing what a “healthy” meal looks like and include a salad and a milk or juice instead of fries and a soda. Yes, their parents are indulging them because frankly, many parents do not realize how really bad these fast food meals are for their children/teens in the long term.

  • Mena

    Well, I was going to say leave McDonald’s alone too, but it looks like many other parents think similarly to myself! Awesome!! Fast food is a business – they’re out there to make $$. Profit is not a dirty word. Try opening your own business and being regulated by our government these days. If your target audience is kids – you have to market to them.

    The problem is parents and their lack of back bones. Educate your children please. About business and health. And then help them by making the choice FOR THEM. Prepare them for life when they’ll have to make these decisions.

  • Brad

    How is that cheating?

  • Criffator

    Get over yourself! Did you NOT have happy meals when you were a kid? Kids have enough to worry about in this world, a freaking “HAPPY meal” is something they should be able to get, WITH A TOY. I am so sick of you health NUTS trying to impose your lifestyle on everyone else, if you want to be a freak that’s fine, but leave everyone else the hell ALONE. Just as i said before, there is enough crap to worry about in life, everyone WILL DIE. I want to go out happy, not some vegetarian, lettuce eating freak. If that’s something you want to do, go for it, but leave me the hell alone!

  • margorie24

    Recently I was REALLY low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this!!! – ry0e

  • Dallas Jenkins

    You’re really not blaming McDonald’s for ensuring parents have a choice, are you? My family and I eat very healthy but occasionally want a treat, and when we go to McDonald’s and our kids want a toy, what business of it of yours or the friggin’ government’s (in a free country) to tell us and a business owner, “No, you do not have the right to pay 10 cents for a product you want”?

    Punishing normal parents for the fact that some weak parents are incapable of telling their children “no” is not liberty, and I’m glad McDonald’s is finding a way to skirt fascist government.