Thursday, November 4, 2010

San Francisco Moves to Make Restaurants Less Unhealthy

Two new measures in San Francisco are meant to reduce restaurants’ contributions to health problems.

  1. A smoking ban at restaurants now extends to outdoor seating areas. This measure was approved in March and went into effect November 1. It makes sense in San Francisco, where virtually any outdoor seating area is going to be immediately adjacent to at least one building.
  2. The “Happy Meal ban” enacted yesterday bans toys in children’s restaurant meals that are more than 35 percent fat. This is not a difficult threshold to meet. A normal meal is 10 to 30 percent fat, so restaurants can still bribe kids with toys to sell them high-fat food, as long as they stay reasonably close to the idea of healthy food. McDonald’s Happy Meal, though, falls conspicuously outside the new San Francisco rules, and so far, McDonald’s has only said that it disagrees with the nutritional science that the new rule is based on. The “Happy Meal ban” takes effect December 1.