General Assembly passes bill that mandates healthier  drinks with kids meals

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The Delaware General Assembly wants to make sure kids have an option other than soft drinks with their fast food meals.

House Bill 79 passed both houses by lopsided margins and awaits signing by the governor. Delaware and Hawaii become the only two states in nationwith the law.

This bill requires state food safety standards for restaurants to include a system for requiring healthy beverages to be offered as the default beverage with a children’s meal.

It does not prohibit the restaurant’s ability to sell, or a customer’s ability to choose, a substitute or alternative beverage as-requested by a customer.

“This effectively creates an “opt-in” instead of an “opt out” for many sugar-rich drink choices for children. This bill also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual,” the text of a description of the bill stated.

The bill was passed, even though most fast food operators already offer non-soft drink options on kids meals.

Critics claimed the bill was an example of unnecessary regulation.

Supporters pointed to soaring obesity rates among children and a growing number of cases of diabetes.

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