Berkeley is set to become the first U.S. city to prohibit the sale of junk food in checkout aisles.
The Berkeley City Council has approved the Healthy Checkout Ordinance, which prohibits junk food from being sold in checkout aisles at grocery stores. In its place, stores will be required to "sell more nutritious food and beverage options in their checkout areas."
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"We're not saying you can't have these goods. We're just saying they're not going to be right at the eye level of your children when they walk into the store and you're waiting in that long line at check out," council member Kate Harrison said, according to ABC News San Francisco station KGO.
The ordinance will go into effect March 1 and be enforced starting Jan. 1, 2022.
"Today’s food landscape plays a large role in determining what people purchase and consume," the ordinance stated. "Cheap, ready-to-eat foods high in salt, saturated fat, and added sugars dominate checkout aisles, where shoppers are more likely to make impulse purchases and where parents struggle with their children over demands to buy treats at the end of a shopping trip."
"The placement of snacks near the register increases the likelihood that people purchase those foods. In addition, most of the candy, soda, and chips in checkout aisles are placed at eye-level and within reach of children, undermining parents’ efforts to feed their children well.
In 2014, Berkeley also became the first city to pass a soda tax.