Chile Prohibits McDonalds’, KFC from Selling Toys with Meals

Aug 05, 2012 09:13 AM EDT | By Sharon Robinson

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The Chilean government now prohibits the inclusion of toys in meals to attract children. This is a step taken by the government to prevent obesity in children.

A quarter of Chile's children are obese. The ban on toys took effect in June. The credit for writing this law is given to Sen. Giudo Girardi. But, the big food companies are yet to heed it.

"These businesses know that this food damages the health of children and they know that the law is in effect. They're using fraudulent and abusive means," Giudo Girardi, who filed a formal complaint, Wednesday, told the The Associated Press.

Apart from fast food chains, the law also bans makers of cereal, Popsicles and other products, from using toys or crayons to attract children, and to sell their food.

If Sen. Girardi's complaint is heeded by the Health Ministry, the food companies will have to stop using toys as part of their marketing, and may face a hefty fine, as well.

 The ban of these toys was passed despite vigorous lobbying by the food companies. Girardi says that the food companies threatened that there would be no more money for the sick, or for the children's hospitals. But the government was finally able "to create a great alliance between the civil society and scientists to defeat these lobbyists."

Parents in Chile claim that they will stop taking their children to fast food joints if they start putting on too much weight. Government officials and health advocates on the other hand, expect a tough fight from the fast food chains.

Chile banning toys in children's meals is much like San Francisco's ban of toys with food. But, fast food chains have been found to sell toys anyway. 

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