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Last updated at 16:07 GMT, Monday, 17 January 2011

New law targets fast-food toys

Summary

10 November 2010

San Francisco has passed a law banning fast-food restaurants from giving away toys with some children's meals. Supporters say many fast-food meals are very unhealthy, but McDonald's called the legislation misguided.

Reporter:
Rajesh Mirchandani

Happy Meal with toy outside a McDonald's restaurant

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Report

It could spell the end of the Happy Meal, the fast-food snack that's a hit with children at McDonald's, because it comes with a free toy. City leaders in San Francisco argued the same meals also come with too many calories and they say that has added to a situation where nearly 20% of American children are obese.

Now San Francisco has become the first major US city to ban fast-food restaurants from giving away toys with meals that don't meet nutritional guidelines. In future, you'll only get the toy if you buy a healthy snack.

The burger giant McDonald's sent senior executives to the city to oppose the measure. In a statement, the company said: ''Parents tell us it's their right and responsibility, not the government's, to make their own decisions and to choose what's right for their children.''

McDonald's, Burger King and 15 other food companies have signed up to self-regulate how they advertise food to youngsters.

Rajesh Mirchandani, BBC News

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Vocabulary

spell the end of

mean the end of

a hit

very popular

calories

units measuring energy in food

added to

increased the impact or significance of

obese

very fat, in an unhealthy way

nutritional guidelines

recommendations for healthy eating

burger giant

large company that sells fast-food

measure

official action (in this case, a new law)

signed up

agreed to or accepted

self-regulate

monitor and control themselves

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