Councilor seeks ban on free toys with unhealthy mealsA city councilor in Superior is proposing limits on free toys that are given out in fast food meals to kids.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A city councilor in Superior is proposing limits on free toys that are given out in fast food meals to kids.
If passed, a kid’s meal has more than 10 percent fat, this proposal would mean no free Shrek dolls or Beanie Babies in the Superior city limits.
City Councilor Greg Mertzig says his proposal is similar to ordinances already passed in San Francisco. He compares free toys with fatty meals to candy cigarettes.
“It was a marketing tactic by the tobacco industry to get kids to think it was cool to smoke at a very young age, develop these lethal habits at a very young age,” Mertzig said. “To a lesser extent, these toys in their Happy Meals kind of do the same thing. They reward kids and get them to think that it’s the OK thing to do at a very young age.”
Mertzig, an Iraqi and Afghanistan War veteran, says obesity is a serious issue for the nation and young people.
“They don’t meet the physical requirements to join the military so there was an argument that it was actually a national security issue,” Mertzig said. “And so through the dialogue with my constituents we decided and I decided that day that we needed to do something.”
The resolution would ban free toys in meals with more than 600 calories, 10 percent fat and can’t have any trans fat. It could also require fruits or vegetables and whole grain foods.
The proposal gets a first reading next Tuesday. The council could decide to send it to committee or direct city staff to draft an ordinance for consideration at a later date.