Statement of CSPI senior policy associate Sara Ribakove
Legislation signed yesterday makes Montgomery County, Maryland the second county in the country to pass legislation that comprehensively addresses restaurant kids’ meals.
Similar to legislation passed in neighboring Prince George’s County in 2020, the Montgomery County legislation will ensure that healthier beverages are the default with restaurant children’s meals and that at least one kids’ meal on the menu will meet expert nutrition standards. While parents and caregivers can still request a different beverage or side for their children, they will no longer have the least healthy items pushed on their kids as the default option. County restaurants will have one year to implement the healthy default beverage component and 18 months to implement the nutrition standards for one meal.
Of course, most restaurants should aspire to make most, if not all, of their kids’ meals healthy. But what a relief for Montgomery County families to know that there will be at least one meal combination, which includes a fruit or a vegetable, on the menu that experts would recommend for a child.
CSPI would like to thank the bill sponsor, Councilmember Craig Rice, the rest of the Montgomery County Councilmembers, the American Heart Association, NAACP Maryland State Conference, CASA, the American Diabetes Association, Black Veg Society, and the entire community that supported this bill. Together, we have ensured healthier options for Montgomery County families.
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