- CLPA Staff
Legislative Update: Bill 1-22-Healthy Meals for Children (MoCo Council)
Updated: Mar 4, 2022
In January, Councilmember Rice introduced Bill 1-22, Eating and Drinking Establishments – Healthy Meals for Children. If enacted, it would mandate that food service facilities in Montgomery County offering children’s meals provide at least one “healthy children’s meal” as an option on their menu.
As to what is considered a healthy meal, the bill states it should consist of:
½ cup or more of unfried fruit or unfried vegetables, excluding juice, condiments, or spreads;
A whole-grain product that:
Contains, by weight, 51% or more of whole-grain ingredients; or
lists whole grain as the first ingredient in its ingredient list required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; or
A lean protein consisting of:
One ounce or more of meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, or peas;
½ cup of nonfat or 1% milk or low-fat yogurt, or 1 ounce of reduced-fat cheese; or
A plant-based, non-dairy alternative that:
Contains the same amount of protein as, or more protein than, an item under this paragraph; and
Is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.
The bill also outlines what is considered a healthy beverage to serve to children eating in County restaurants. Healthy beverages would be deemed to be:
Water, with no added natural or artificial sweeteners, flavors, or carbonation;
Eight ounces or less of unflavored nonfat or 1% milk, or a non-dairy equivalent with no added natural or artificial sweeteners; or
Six ounces or less of 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or a combination of 100% fruit and vegetable juice, with no added natural or artificial sweeteners.
Consumer choice is mentioned explicitly in the legislation in section E. It notes that, if enacted, there will be no prohibition for customers to purchase children’s meals served at a restaurant not considered "healthy." It also noted that there is no prohibition from a restaurant from selling meals not containing the foods or beverages listed in the bill.
There was written testimony from nine residents/organizations at yesterday's public hearing. All were in favor, but one asked for an amendment on the bill to allow the inclusion of sparkling water; 8oz servings of juice; and a combination of water, fruit, and vegetable juice.
Written testimony from the public hearing:
Jacquelyn Williams- African American Health Program
Lynette Somers-American Diabetes Association
Stuart Berlow-American Heart Association
Sara Ribakove-Center for Science in the Public Interest
Shawn McIntosh-Sugar Free Kids Maryland
Willie Flowers-NAACP Maryland State Conference
Ellen Valentino-MD-DE-DC Beverage Association
Erika Ventura Castellon-National Association of Hispanic Nurses
Dr. Yolandra Hancock-Public health advocate
For more information or comments about this legislation, contact Councilmember Rice at (240) 777-7955 or email at Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov.