California straw ban sugary drinks kids meals

Beginning in 2019, kids’ meals sold in California restaurants will include “milk; a non-dairy milk alternative; or sparkling, still or flavored water” by default. Another law will ban restaurants from giving out single-use plastic straws, unless customers ask for them.

Neither of the laws ban the practices altogether. Customers can still ask for sugary drinks and straws, it simply sets a new standard of not having them included automatically.

Some lawmakers, particularly Republicans, argue that the standards are government overreach. The straw law is limited to waited restaurants (not fast food joints) and will include two warnings before issuance of fines (up to a maximum $300 annually).

Governor Jerry Brown has prioritized environmental preservation during his time in office, so discouraging unnecessary consumption of plastic straws is well aligned with his values. As written, it is essentially a benefit which comes at the cost of no victim (other than maybe straw manufacturers).

Opponents argued that it would adversely effect handicap customers, but given that they remain available as an option, this argument doesn’t seem to hold much air. The city of San Francisco recently joined many other jurisdictions in a ban on plastic straws altogether. The potential for a statewide ban could reside on the success of these cities.

There are a number of companies poised to take full advantage of efforts to reduce plastic pollution. Aardvark, a company in Indiana, already makes viable substitutes for just about all plastic straws, including flexible and extra wide (think milkshakes and boba drinks) ones.

John Rosenbaum is a trusted Orange County Workers Compensation and Personal Injury attorney that has become a trusted legal resource among the community. If you think you may need legal representation, contact our offices today.

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