The Cincinnati City Council could ban the inclusion of soft drinks on children’s menus, a measure already in place in other major American cities.
Under so-called ‘healthy drinks legislation’, only milk, water and drinks made from 100% fruit juice could be on children’s menus. Other options such as soft drinks would still be available, but would not be listed. This would apply to all restaurants in Cincinnati that serve children’s meals, including restaurant chains.
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The aim is to make it easier for parents to choose healthy options for their children, according to the sponsors of the legislation, council members Greg Landsman and Meeka Owens.
Cincinnati City Councilman Mark Jeffreys tweeted about the idea on Monday. The idea could come to the council as early as next week.
Landsman said city health department leaders approached him with the idea last fall.
Led by the American Heart Association, a statewide coalition of doctors, child advocates, and restaurant and business representatives discussed the idea and worked with other cities across the country. Ohio for enacting legislation like this to combat childhood obesity.
Pop “just can’t be the default drink on a kid’s menu,” Landsman said.
Dustin Holfinger, director of state government relations for the American Heart Association, said the legislation doesn’t take away options.
Under the legislation, restaurants that do not comply would first receive a warning. A second violation would result in a $75 fine, which is halved if the restaurant complies with the law. Fines will likely increase for subsequent violations, but those details are still being worked out.
Tod Bowen, general manager of external affairs and government relations for the Ohio Restaurant Association, said he appreciated the city worked with the restaurant association before drafting the legislation and that it was a a collaborative process.
“I believe they have produced a bill that accomplishes what they do, which is to provide healthy choices in children’s meals in a way that restaurants that offer children’s meals can do,” said said Bowen.
“Generally speaking, restaurants that offer children’s meals have been doing so voluntarily for several years,” Bowen said. “It codifies what the majority of restaurants are already doing.”
In other states, local restaurant groups have said if they back the targets, the mandates would impose new costs — like menu reprints — on restaurants as they still struggle to recover from the pandemic. of COVID-19.
Other cities in Ohio and across the country have already passed similar laws.
Cleveland passed the change in 2020, with it taking effect This year. Columbus, Youngstown and Toledo have also done so, Holfinger said.
Baltimore was the first major city to ban the appearance of sugary drinks on children’s menus, passing a law in 2018. On January 6, the New Orleans City Council passed a similar law, which will take effect next year.
The State of California, in 2019, did too.