California continues infringing on its citizens’ right to make decisions for themselves. From plastic bag charges to straw restrictions, residents have been further required to follow additional restrictions which will now expand to kids’ meal beverages choices.
The recent announcement which has many wondering what will be next will require private businesses to comply with the new restriction which, if passed, will limit kids’ menu drink options to milk or water.
Senate Bill 1192 would amend the California Retail Food Code under the State Department of Public Health to require the default beverage to accompany kids’ meals in restaurants be water or unflavored milk. Parents would be permitted to opt for a soft drink beverage for their child, but kids’ meals will no longer be marketed to include any type of juice, soda, or sugary beverage.
Naturally, the liberals behind the proposed measure are claiming that it addresses child health concerns such as obesity and cancer attributed to excessive sugar consumption.
“Kid’s meals shouldn’t come with a side order of diabetes, obesity, or cardiovascular disease,” argued Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty. To illustrate this, the legislator reportedly “carried a cup with nine packets of sugar draped over the side to demonstrate how much sugar is in a small soda.”
The proposal reportedly passed in the state senate in May, “clear[ed] the assembly on Thursday,” and is now awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s approval.
While fellow leftists such as Stephanie Winn on behalf of the American Cancer Society provided arguments such as that “Cancer is fought in the halls of the government, not just the halls of the hospital,” the recent proposal has understandably gained mixed responses.
Even parents who claim that they do not serve their children soft drinks expressed their displeasure with the possibility that the state may be able to mandate what their child consumes.
One mother, Malody Cervantes, said of SB 1192, “That’s unacceptable. That’s not their place to govern what the parents can legally give to the children.”
Another, Joanel Bernardo continued that “It’s a bit of an overreach to decide that for them.”
These and other parents indicated that they understand that the bill has the worthy goal of keeping children healthy by promoting a more healthy lifestyle, yet agreed that the choice to ensure such should be the parents’ decision especially considering that guardians are free to feed their children what they deem appropriate within the home.
Others have argued that a soft drink and juice ban would do nothing for American children’s health. Another resident, David Losbanez, said, “It’s not just the nutrition factor; I feel like Americans have adopted more of a sedentary lifestyle.”
Yet children’s and parent’s concerns aside, the bill is arguably concerning to businesses as well, as restaurants who fail to comply by continuing to advertise and offer options other than water or milk will be fined accordingly.
A first violation will result in a “written first notice,” the second, a $250 fine, and any violations thereafter are said to warrant a $500 fine.
While the outlandish fines could be detrimental to struggling private businesses, most believers in capitalism would agree that just like other plastic bans, laws such as these are also highly overreaching.
Huntington Beach Assemblyman Matthew Harper expressed his concern with the proposal, saying, “Seriously, like, what’s next? Are we going to insist that you have to have kale in your salad unless you specifically ask otherwise?”
Such an example arises another concern with the bill: that in mandating juice or water as options, the government has illustrated that it appears to believe it to be an expert in deciding what is best for its citizens’ children.
Specific to this bill concerns the example that the state is unofficially deeming milk to be a more suitable option than juice. While it may or may not be considering dietary concerns such as lactose intolerance and hormones in some brands of milk, California children with such dairy intolerances could also be affected and limited.
Even more ridiculous considering the recent apparent need for such a ban is that many restaurants nationwide have already begun to switch over to healthier options. McDonald’s, for example, discontinued “marketing soft drinks as a beverage option in its Happy Meals for kids.” In February this year, it further removed chocolate milk as an option.
While there is substantial controversy surrounding this recent ban to be added to the ever-increasing list of items that California is now considering taboo, its legislators do not appear to consider such important.
Rather they continue to cite health reasons, as the bill provides statistics such as the nation’s “medical burden of obesity” costing $147 billion annually and the horror that some children consume “up to three sodas a day.”
Of course, doing so is not recommended for anyone’s health, yet SB 1192 is just another example of the government meddling in societal problems which may need addressing at the personal or home level.
While liberal states such as California, New York, and Washington are doing so in their increasing bans that mandate how its citizens may sip their drinks, carry their groceries, or buy their guns, among other previously protected freedoms, their associated successes have yet to be proven.
Considering that bans often fail to prevent individuals from participating in prohibited acts but rather simply find ways around them, governing democrats may be disappointed when the latest ‘water or milk’ rule proves ineffective in benefiting children’s health.