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Politics & Government

Gov. Carney signs bill requiring a healthy drink in kids meals

Sarah Mueller
Gov. Carney signs healthy beverage in kids meals legislation

Restaurants throughout the state will start offering kids healthier beverages.

Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation Wednesday making restaurant customers opt in for soda or other sugary drinks in kids meals. Milk, water or juice is the default drink.

State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown (D-New Castle), who sponsored the legislation, calls her bill is a first step. She says without healthier options, Delaware will continue to see high rates of chronic diseases due to poor diets.

“You have to look at what’s driving those healthcare costs, and what’s driving them is diabetes, diabetes supplies, diabetes medications, medications for heart disease," she said. "And we’re never going to get those costs down if we don’t get ahead of the issue.”

Restaurants won’t face any fines or fees for not complying with the healthy beverage requirements.

But Minor-Brown hopes they’ll do the right thing.

“You know, right now kids are consuming 30 gallons of sugar per year," she said. "We have to get people to see how toxic this sugar is. I just read a study and it said sugar is nine times as addictive as heroin and cocaine. That’s scary.”

The Delaware Restaurant Association said it supports healthy initiatives for the state’s children. But it doesn’t support impeding on small business owners’ ability to package, market and price their products and services. The association supported the amendment that clarified restaurants wouldn’t face financial penalties for violating the beverage requirement.

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