Parents Lose One More Right in California as the State Limits Kid’s Menu Drinks to Water or Milk

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By Meadow Clark

Yes, the rumors are true. California lawmakers passed a state law that forces restaurants within the state to offer only select beverages on children’s menus. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1192 into law in late September and it easily passed in both the State and the Assembly. Support for the nanny state law flew under the guise of what’s healthiest for the children.

The default options for beverages on children’s menus have been forced to change to unflavored milk and water.

In other words, one more option than a dungeon.

Please understand that we aren’t promoting giving children HFCS-laden sodas on a regular basis, but we ARE promoting parental choice. Adamantly.

Customers can order another drink for their child by request, but clearly, the point of the law is to make it difficult (and frowned upon) to order something “unhealthy” for their child. That’s how nanny-state health laws are usually created. In increments or with fines or taxes (see more below), and usually with some kind of societal shame tactic.

“Non-dairy fluid milk substitutes” containing under 130 calories can also appear as an option on the menu if that kind of drink is available at the restaurant. Again, this is an assumption of the “health” of the beverage and the idea of low calories being best for all children.

Should the government dictate what drinks a restaurant can serve to patrons? Do you want the government to decide what is healthiest for your children? When you go to McDonald’s, are you there for a fat-free kale smoothie? Is this giving you flashbacks to Nanny Bloomberg’s large drink ban in New York? (Which, I might add, was finally struck down in court as unconstitutional.)

That is precisely what is happening in California right as we speak. You are probably not surprised, but at the same time, when will the insanity stop?

Government nannying is insulting…

Some people might not think a few menu option changes are no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But consider this: Food is more personal than politics and religion. At least you would think so to see people fight about it online. Food is the one thing people strive to have complete control over – three times a day – in regards to their personal liberty. Going to a restaurant is an “extra” that consumers enjoy at will. It’s all up to choice. So it shouldn’t be viewed the government as a health need.

Food can be more intimate to someone than the typical concept of intimacy. In reality, food IS a form of intimacy. Look at the way different cultures come together as families to enjoy a particular meal. When you start a relationship, you bond over food. For some families, a meal out is the only time when the kids get to drink a soda pop, as a rare treat. Should families at a restaurant be confined to paltry portions and plain tap water for an evening out? Perish the thought!

Bonding over food is a concept as old as time. Holidays feature certain cuisine. Most religions have some guidelines about food – and people still argue about it every day!

When you add to that the modern nuance of what constitutes a healthy food, now we’re talking a recipe for disaster.

So when a sweeping law suddenly takes away that choice from consumers who are spending their hard-earned money for a night out…you may have heard a swath of eyeballs rolling out of heads on the West coast. In Stereo.

Childhood obesity is certainly rising, but who is to say that crimping a beverage option from a weekly night out will fix the issue?

Nothing against dairy on this site, but it does cause some problems for a lot of people. So who is to say that prompting the parent to “choose” milk is automatically healthier than the occasional soda drink? One could surmise that orange juice is healthier than soda until you see how it’s made and realize that it’s not the wholesome fruit-based drink we think it is.

What are the fines for disobeying government nanny health rules?

According to Intellectual Takeout:

According to the new law, violations of the rule will be punishable by fines up to $500:

[The] first violation shall result in a notice of violation. A second violation within a five-year period from the notice of violation shall be punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250). For a third or subsequent violation within a five-year period, the fine shall be not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

As with most government policies that restrict individual and economic freedom, lawmakers appealed to the public good in order to justify the new regulations. According to Section 1 of the legislation:

From 1990 to 2016, inclusive, the obesity rate in California increased by 250 percent. While the increase was greatest from 1990 until 2003, recent trends suggest a continued increase in obesity among children.

The solution, they argue, is to “support parents” efforts to feed their children nutritiously by ensuring healthy beverages are the default options in children’s meals in restaurants,” ultimately improving “children’s health by setting nutritional standards for a restaurant’s children’s meals.”

The reasoning almost makes sense. If we reduce obesity and help children grow up healthy, then it will lessen the economic burden by the annual $9.1 billion spent on obesity-related health problems. But right there you can see that it’s really about cutting costs. Not much was done when childhood obesity climbed to a degree never before seen in American history.

Would skipping soda help crimp rapid weight gain?

You bet!

Unequivocally the data is clear: the high-fructose corn syrup found in soft drinks increases weight gain much faster than table sugar in the diet.

So, I must ask:

Instead of punishing parents, children, and restaurants – why not go after the food and beverage makers who are putting crappy ingredients in all the food and beverages leaving no one any choice at all about obesity if they like to partake every now and then?

Why not say to the soft drink companies, you’ve placed a harmful ingredient in beverages that is now found to be harmful and strongly correlates with the highest childhood obesity spike we’ve ever seen in the history of the United States of America. You need to switch back right now. We the Nanny made a mistake by subsidizing so much corn. We’ll start getting that sugar cane back in. 

Instead, the Nanny state points a finger to your inexplicably fat child and says he is a burden on Nanny. No soda pop for you!

California doesn’t have a glowing record for parents’ rights.

Don’t forget that Governor Jerry Brown signed one of the toughest vaccine laws in recent history. He removed all exemptions for vaccines for school-aged children (except the medical kind which are nearly impossible to get). Not exactly a champion for children’s health. Parents in California are getting kicked in the teeth.

And when California inevitably forces every citizen to eat, drink and move only in ways that are approved by the Government, their economy will crash from people crossing the border to have any semblance of fun.

Californians are already leaving the Golden State in droves, and this is no fun for Arizona as it means that the contrasting laws that they enjoy could be overturned by the coastalites.

Previously, California banned the sale of soda pop in schools. But, teens then apparently took to sports drinks.

Intellectual Takeout says:

As a 2013 study on the effects of soda bans published in the International Journal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity warned, “State laws that ban soda but allow other SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] may lead students to substitute other non-soda SSBs.” (Unsurprisingly, California lawmakers also tried to ban sports drinks in schools in 2010. They failed, but the USDA passed a nationwide ban in 2013).

[…]A 2018 UCLA study found that while adolescent soda consumption was down in California, sugar consumption overall was still on the rise.

Prohibition failed. The War on Drugs failed. Taxing sugar and fat failed. (It was a world’s first and a big fat failure.) Yet governments keep trying to punish the individual with more restrictions and fines. Maybe it’s to get us used to having nothing.

People want their fix and in the end, they have a right to their choices.

It doesn’t make sense to legislate human behavior when there are other ways to approach problems…

If you even have to at all.

Meadow Clark

Meadow Clark

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17 Responses

    1. I believe the new law is, milk and water are the only two beverages listed on the menu, however you can ask for a substitute beverage, aka soda.

    1. They will! Kali will build its own version of the Berlin Wall, with armed guards and all, to prevent taxpayers and freedom loving citizens from escaping. The “incoming” gates from Mexico will remain open.

      You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. Look for it in less than ten years.

      1. The will not build a wall. They want to infect the all country with their BS. Their target is Californication of the USA.

  1. A better reason to just stay at home and feed your kids instead of taking them out to get who knows what in their food and have the nanny state tell you how and what to eat. If you are really in to nutrition you should understand that above the age of two or so not every body needs milk. Look at the animal kingdom. While they will consume milk if they can get it none of them feed themselves or their young once the young are capable of feeding on other food.

    Still, it isn’t the right of the government to tell you what drink you give your children as long as it doesn’t injure them. Which includes drugs and alcohol as well.

  2. Why not just end the US tariff on imported sugar that causes the soft drink companies to use crappy corn sugar because it’s cheaper? Sugar prices in the US are generally twice what the rest of the world pays – benefiting a handful of politically-conected agri-businesses known as Big Sugar. The tariff also males it profitable to produce sugar in the Everglades, which has contributed to recent annual ecological disasters in South Florida.
    There aren’t any significant candy companies left in the US – they’ve moved production to Canada and Mexico because of this 1920s are law.
    Just end it. To hell with Big Sugar.

  3. So the author is not against the government interfering with people’s life. She is just upset that the government interferes with her life.

    Let people eat what they want and pay the consequences. It is well known to everything who’s willing to listen and learn that a lot of the “food” sold in the stores or restaurants is bad for you. So, if someone decides to do nothing with that information, it is their choice. Let make clear that if you do not take care of your health there is no medicaid, medicaid, SNAP when you get sick. You want to heat your way to the grave: be my guest. Just not with my money.

  4. Just one more reason it’s known as Kalifornia in some circles. Not to mention some of the others names which can’t be posted in a family blog.

  5. But I guess it’s also a right to drop your kids off for them to be brainwashed. How about just keep them at home or in a smaller private setting?

    1. Luckily, California has some fairly decent home-schooling laws. My daughter went to public school there for a couple of years and then we homeschooled for the rest of high school. In many states, this is far more difficult due to stringent regulations. They really want kids in those indoctrination centers!

  6. This type of initiative, which has some limited appeal, meshes with the clear admonition from the global warmists in their most recent propaganda dictat that the world will have to give up meat to prevent temperature increases. if you’re going to try to force everyone to give up meat, the enforcement apparatus must be established beforehand, with easier targets. Then it’s step by step. Classic.

  7. Once upon a time there was a typical American who loved everything about their country, especially the right of its citizens to choose whatever they wanted. And there were SO MANY CHOICES! Especially when it came to food! Thousands upon thousands of choices. Packaged foods, fast foods, restaurant foods, home cooked foods, snacks, desserts, candies, soda pops. The choices just went on and on and on.

    Well, one day the typical American noticed that their child was getting pretty fat, so the typical American said to their child “You have to eat better. You have to make healthier choices. You have to eat the lunch I make for you instead of buying junk food at school. And why not have an apple instead of a chocolate bar or some candy once in a while?”

    But the typical American’s child just rolled their eyes and ate whatever they felt like. And the child got fatter and fatter and fatter.

    What to do, what to do? The typical American thought and thought. “If only the food manufacturers would make healthier foods. If only I knew which foods were the healthiest. If only there weren’t so many choices”!

    WELL! The typical American needed some help, so they went to the Federal Government and said “Can you please help me to help my child by passing some legislation that makes food manufacturer’s make healthier food? My child won’t pay any attention to what I say. They just eat what they want. All the food they like is loaded with fat and salt and sugar.”

    And the Federal Government said “No. We can’t impose some generic law forcing manufacturers to make healthier food. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child eats healthier food.”

    So the typical American went and asked their State for help but the State said “No, we’re not going to impose some generic law forcing manufacturers to make healthier food. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child eats healthier food.”

    So then the typical American went and asked their city council for help but the council said “No, we can’t force our citizens to eat healthier food. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child eats healthier food.”

    Then the typical American went and asked their child’s school board for help but the school board said “No, we can’t force our students to eat healthier food. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child eats healthier food.”

    Well, the poor typical American was at a loss. Wouldn’t anyone help? BUT WAIT! What about the food manufacturers themselves? Surely they will help.

    The food manufacturers listened to the typical American’s concerns and then they all huddled together to talk for a while before coming back and saying “Don’t look at us. We just give the typical American what they want.”

    Well then, what about the advertisers? Won’t they help?

    All the advertisers huddled together and then came back and said “Hey, we just tell you about the food, we don’t make it. What you buy is your choice.”

    OK, but what about all the Doctors? Surely they will help.

    The Doctors just said “Hey, we can’t even get YOU to eat healthier.”

    By now the typical American was furious. “You mean none of you will help me? Who is responsible if my child gets so fat that they get sick from eating all these poor choices?”

    And all the government people, the advertisers, the manufacturers, the school boards and even the Doctors joined hands in a big circle around the typical American and said “You’re responsible. You’re the parent. If your child eats unhealthy food and gets fat, you’re responsible.”

    Except in California, where one little law snuck in and is trying to make it easier for the typical American parent. Their kids are given TWO healthy choices for a drink at school – water or milk.

    The moral of the story is: instead of complaining that YOUR right as a typical American parent to choose your child’s school drink has been curtailed maybe you should help THEM out, do some food research yourself and then suggest a THIRD healthy choice to the school board. I mean, it is the KIDS and their health that is the most important part of this discussion, isn’t it?

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