Officials in San Francisco are debating creating new nutritional standards for meals intended for children. Of a meal’s total calories, officials want to require that no more than 10 percent are from “added caloric sweeteners” and no more than 35 percent are from fat. They also want to prohibit the bundling of toys with meals that have over 600 calories total. The ordinance will further require kids’ meals to include a half cup of vegetables, or fruit if the meal is served at breakfast. Lastly, they ask that meals have a serving of multi-grains. Toys would be permitted if attached to healthier meals.
Many spoke out in favor of the new ordinance at public hearings this week, including representatives of nonprofit health advocacy groups, teachers and parents. Some feel that mandating healthier fast food goes beyond childhood nutrition, and is in fact a civil rights issue. Eric Mar, co-author of the ordinance, pointed out that Latinos and blacks have higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
But McDonald’s representatives paint a very different story, in an effort to protect its economic interests. They portrayed healthier kids’ meals as undermining parental authority. “We believe in giving our customers the right to choose,” said Karen Wells, McDonald’s USA vice president of U.S. strategy and menu. “Parents are telling us it is their decision what they want to feed their children and not necessarily in the hands of legislators.”
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Is it me or has the fast-food industry recently gone mad with their new and shameful creations of Angus burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and now fried bologna breakfast biscuits?
Wasn’t it just a few short months ago, KFC introduced their new grilled chicken menu and McDonald’s started placing ads in every parent magazine about how nutritious their small hamburger, apple slices and low-fat milk lunches are?
Maybe it’s a backlash to their healthier intentions, but Hardees has joined the low ranks of KFC and McDonald’s and just launched their new Oscar Mayer Fried Bologna Biscuit sandwich, which is being touted as a throwback comfort food of sorts. Apparently, Hardees like many other fast-food and chain restaurants is trying to appeal to the economically-downtrodden fast-food nation as we seek solace in cheap, processed, comfort foods like fried bologna and biscuits.
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Fast-food chains have definitely taken a beating in the past few years particularly following the release of the explosive documentary, “Super Size Me.” Given the recent Swedish findings that a diet high in fattening fast food choices can not only add on pounds, but can also damage the liver is another red check mark for these restaurant conglomerates. t
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a full meal at a fast-food chain. I do admit though to zipping through the drive-thru every now and then to pick up a McDonald’s ice cream cone, especially during the summer. Today, most fast-food restaurants offer a few low-fat options, but how many of fast food diners eat them? Do you order a grilled chicken breast salad because it’s your own preference for lunch or is it because you happen to be with a group of people who have chosen a fast-food joint as their place of eating and you don’t want the usual fare of burger and fries? All judgments of fast-food restaurants aside, I am just very curious about the reasons.