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unhappy meals

Should we ban giving away free toys with fast food?

A TD says Ireland should follow San Francisco’s lead on the issue.

MICK WALLACE HAS suggested Ireland follow San Francisco’s lead and ban giving away a free toy with fast food.

In a recent parliamentary question, Wallace asked Health Minister Leo Varadkar if he thinks such promotions “can place undue pressure on parents who seek to limit their children’s access to such foods”.

One in four children in Ireland is overweight or obese. Obesity is estimated to cost the country over €1 billion annually.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told a technical group had been set up to look at the marketing, promotion and sponsorship of unhealthy food and “will consider all relevant issues”.

Responding to Wallace, Varadkar said that as obesity is “a major public health challenge” and that his department will finalise an Obesity Policy and Action Plan this year.

It is also preparing legislation in relation to posting calories on menus.

In December 2011, a law banning the inclusion of free toys with fast food came into effect in San Francisco, and other states are considering a similar move.

McDonald’s quickly found a way to sidestep – and make money off – the law, however, by charging an extra ten cents for the toy.

What do you think?

Should giving away a free toy with fast food be illegal?

Poll Results:

No, it wouldn't make a difference (3560)
Yes, definitely (2806)
I don't know (189)

(Article updated on 15 July 2015).

Read: Alarming WHO report: Nearly ALL Irish adults likely to be overweight by 2030

Opinion: The food sector wants to sell us more for greater profits – but we need to consume less

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