to ban fast food toys
July 1, 2008
A UNIQUE by-law could be brought in banning fast food
companies from giving away toys with unhealthy meals in
Councillors are ready to act on the findings of an
inquiry earlier this year which accused burger giants
such as McDonald’s and Burger King of contributing to
the city’s child obesity crisis.
Next week they will be asked to back plans for specific
Liverpool-wide legislation preventing toys being given
away with fatty food such as burgers, chips and chicken
City leaders hope the idea could have a similar impact
to the pioneering Smokefree campaign which eventually
led to a nationwide ban on smoking in indoor public
Fast food companies have previously defended the
distribution of toys, with McDonald’s insisting the fat,
salt and sugar content of its Happy Meals has
dramatically reduced in recent years.
Cllr Paul Twigger, who headed the council’s child
obesity inquiry, said toy giveaways left parents open to
He said: “These promotions are marketed directly at
“And busy parents often find it easier to give in than
stand their ground.
“We do not want to ban all toys. But there should be a
ban on selling them with unhealthy food.
“These things always seem to be someone else’s problem.
We do not want to be a nanny state, but someone has to
take a stand.
“The response we got
to Smokefree shows something can be done.
“We want the big corporations to wake up and realise
healthier food promotes better health and wellbeing.
“It makes children concentrate better in school and have
healthier lifestyles later in life.”
Shock figures last year showed almost one-third of 10
and 11-year-olds and nearly one-quarter of
reception-class children are officially classed as
either overweight or obese.
Liverpool’s director of public health Dr Paula Grey said
the findings of the council’s child obesity inquiry were
being examined to see how they could be developed.
She added: “A great deal of work is being done to tackle
“Our programmes include community-based initiatives to
encourage better diets, including the use of community
“There is a particular focus on children and young
people, with a number of school-based initiatives.”
Although McDonald’s admits advertising to youngsters it
insists three-quarters of its Happy Meal menu items are
not high in fat, salt or sugar.
It also says it had made significant changes to its
children’s menu such as introducing orange juice,
mineral water, fruit, carrot sticks and semi-skimmed
The by-law proposal will be discussed by Liverpool
council next Wednesday.
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