California has made a ground-breaking decision and passed the first state-wide ‘healthy kids meal’ bill. The bill which is a first for America will mean that milk and water will become the mandated default drinks for children in fast food chains and restaurants.
Following California lawmakers pass on a 12-year ban on sugar taxes, the lawmakers have agreed to Bill 1192 which will mean that children will only be able to choose from milk or water in restaurants. In the past sugary sodas and juices have been the default drinks set on kid’s menus at food facilities while sugary beverages will still be able to be requested by children, only milk and water will be shown on the menu.
The bill states that restaurant owners will be required to “make the default beverage water, sparkling water or flavoured water, as specified, or unflavoured milk or a non-dairy alternative, as specified.”
Several restaurants have already come on board to offer water and milk as a choice such as; McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Applebees, IHOP, Dairy Queen, Burger King and Jack in the Box. In the coming months, all California fast-food franchises and restaurants will be required to follow suit.
In June of this year the California beverage industry lobbied for lawmakers in the state to pass a bill banning a sugar tax on fizzy drinks in order to keep them at an affordable price, much to the dismay of Californian dentists, doctors and public health advocates who tried to stop the bill by filing a counter ballot measure.
According to the Centre of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) research has shown that consumers are more likely to choose a meal option if it is the set default. “People lead such busy lives, especially parents, so it can be hard to recognise the choices that are made for us and change them as we see fit.”