Soda on children's menus could fizz out in New HampshireFebruary 14, 2018 9:48pm

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Fewer children will wash down their chicken fingers and fries with soda if a bill limiting beverage choices for restaurant children's meals gets through the New Hampshire Legislature.

The bill would apply to restaurants that serve children's meals that bundle together food and a beverage for one price. Drinks served with such meals would be limited to milk, 100 percent juice or juice combined with water, plain water, or flavored water with no sweeteners. Customers still could purchase soda or other sugary drinks on the side.

One of the bill's sponsors told a House committee Wednesday he realizes opponents will portray it as a move toward a "nanny state." But he took a different view.

"A nanny is a person who cares for, protects and teaches small children, so being a nanny is not necessarily entirely a bad thing," said Democratic Rep. Timothy Horrigan. "If this bill is passed, children will be protected from the unhealthy effects of artificial sweeteners and excessive sugars, and they will learn to develop healthier dietary habits.

The New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association opposes the bill. Mike Somers, the group's president, asked lawmakers to imagine the scene that could ensue when a family orders a meal and is told a child's soda will cost extra.

"This just ends up becoming a PR nightmare for a restaurateur," he said. "We would respectfully ask you to not put this burden on us."

Seven cities in California, the county of Santa Clara, California, and the city of Lafayette, Colorado, all have passed ordinances on healthy default beverages for restaurant children's meals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Similar statewide legislation is pending in Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York.

Restaurants also are slowly moving in that direction, said Hillary Caron, the center's senior nutrition policy associate. In 2013, McDonald's became the first major restaurant company to remove sugary drinks from its children's menu.

At a Friendly's restaurant in Concord — where the beverages offered with children's meals include soda topped with candy — Jim Foley was having dinner with two of his grandchildren Monday. He wasn't a fan of the proposed restrictions.

"Where do we live?" he said, in a nod to New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" motto. "It should be the parent's choice."

In Manchester, Joe Kelly Lavasseur, a councilmember, said he opposes the bill both as a restaurant owner and father of two boys.

He said he and his wife have debated the relative harm of soda versus juice in terms of tooth decay and decided to allow their children one soda per day.

"I try to limit my own intake of soda, and I don't want my kids drinking soda for every meal, either. But this isn't about a choice for a parent over a child, it's about a choice by the government over the people," he said. "This is what people find crazy about government."

The House committee will at some point vote on whether to recommend the ban. Then the full House would vote on it. Neither of those is scheduled yet.

Vermont's proposal would go a bit further than New Hampshire's in specifying fat content and caloric content of milk and limiting juice servings to 8 oz. A bill in Massachusetts includes those same restrictions, but the law only would apply to chain restaurants.

A bill in Hawaii would make water, milk or juice the default beverage offerings with children's meals, but buyers would be free to request substitutes. New York is considering requiring restaurants that offer toys or other incentives with kids' meals to meet certain nutrition standards, but the bill hasn't been scheduled for a vote and is unlikely to pass.

___

Associated Press Writer David Klepper in New York contributed to this report.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE - In this June 13, 2017, file photo, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, right, discusses the state budget in Sacramento, Calif. In 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill by Ting that would have expanded the list of those who can seek gun violence restraining orders to include, among others, employees of high schools and colleges. The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, that killed at least 17 people, has revived the debate about red flag laws. Ting said he plans to reintroduce the bill.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File)
Few states let courts take guns from people deemed a threat
CORRECTS SPELLING OF SCHOOL NAME FROM MAJORITY STONEMAN DOUGLAS TO MARJORY STONEMAN - Crosses and flowers hang on a fence near  Marjory Stoneman Douglas  INParkland, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2018, in memory of the 17 people killed in a school shooting on Wednesday.  As families began burying their dead, authorities questioned whether they could have prevented the attack at the high school where a gunman, Nikolas Cruz, took several lives. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Florida legislators struggle with how to respond to shooting
Senators want to bolster research of organic agricultureA pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research
FILE - The Aug. 7, 2017 file photo shows Mount Katahdin at dawn, just west of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a site administered by the U.S. Interior Department near Patten, Maine. A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and repeated complaints that dissenting views have been sidelined. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
Agency managing vast US lands experiences year of upheaval
Maryland GOP candidate raffles off AR-15 assault weaponA candidate for a Maryland House seat has held a campaign fundraiser that included raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle, the same type used in the Florida school shooting last week.
Pennsylvania awaits first look at court's congressional mapThe Pennsylvania Supreme Court is on the cusp of imposing a new congressional district map for the state's 2018 elections, all but ensuring that Democratic prospects will improve for several seats
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices