San Francisco

McDonald's Jukes San Francisco's Toy Ban

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San Francisco's ban on giving away a free toy with a child's meal containing a certain number of calories, salt, and other particulars is set to kick in tomorrow. McDonald's, the clear target of the ban, had a year to figure out a way to change its business practices. Seems like they used the time wisely, reports the SF Examiner.

The San Francisco ban on providing free toys to entice children to eat unhealthy foods goes into effect Thursday, but McDonald's plans to comply with the law by charging 10 cents a toy for their Happy Meals and donating the money to the nonprofit Ronald McDonald House.

(Catch that nice bit of editorializing about what's "unhealthy" there?)

SF Weekly parses the new McDonald's approach and reveals just how smart this move is on the part of the chain.

Now, in order to have the privilege of making a 10-cent charitable donation in exchange for the toy, you must buy the Happy Meal. Hilariously, it appears Mar et al., in their desire to keep McDonald's from selling grease and fat to kids with the lure of a toy have now actually incentivized the purchase of that grease and fat—when, beforehand, a put-upon parent could get out cheaper and healthier with just the damn toy.

Who's Mar, you ask? He's Eric Mar, the San Francisco supervisor who championed the so-called "Happy Meal Ban." But you may know him better as a Reason.tv's October 2010 "Nanny of the Month" award winner.

Kudos to the SF Weekly for ending on this punny note:

In any event, it appears the fast food chain's sharpie lawyers have McTopped San Francisco's legislators. Count this city's lawmakers as the latest among the billions and billions served.

Lots of grimacing in the general direction of the ban that thankfully now appears to ban nothing from Reason here. Chase scene from Bullitt here.

Baylen Linnekin is the director of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and increasing "culinary freedom," the right of all Americans to grow, sell, prepare and eat foods of their own choosing. To join or learn more about the group's activities, go hereTo follow Keep Food Legal on Twitter, go here; to follow Linnekin, go here.