Do you remember the excitement, as you emptied the contents of the Rice Crispies box into a bowl in order to find the plastic-wrapped toy, which always seemed to settle at the bottom?
And then there were the fake coins, commemorative medals, even precious stones given away with coffee. I’m talking 60’s and 70’s here but even now, the highlight of most kids take-away food is the “toy”.
Well all of this is about to change. The Medical Research Council has found that 22% of children aged 1-9 years, are obese. And it’s the toys in the food that make them obese, so no more toys. Even advertising food will probably be targeted.
An 80-page draft regulations document under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act 54 of 1972 was released last week by the department of health for public comment.
Amongst other things, the regulations ban adverts, toys and cartoons that encourage children to eat junk food and unhealthy snacks. Cartoon characters, child actors and toys or gifts may not be used to market these foods to children.
Now lets think about this one. The Government is not content just to meddle in every niche of our lives (take the anti-smoking legislation), they now want to take an active role in how we raise our children, and more specifically, how we feed them.
Are we going to see a Child Foodline, where children can anonymously report their parents if the prescribed three vegetables are absent from their plates? Will we have spot inspections at restaurants in case toys are found? Surely these play areas at restaurants should be banned as they encourage children to choose this particular restaurant?
Where will it end? Who will enforce these ridiculous new laws?
If we want to reduce obesity in youngsters, surely the Lets Play initiative, coupled with an Information Campaign about good eating habits would be a better idea. Do we really need more laws?
Yes I know, the “toys in food” issue is a very small part of the new food labelling legislation, but it’s something I’m passionate about.
I LOVE MY NANDOS TOY AND DEMAND MY RIGHT TO CHOOSE.