Disney institutes new food guidelines at parks

With the Walt Disney Co.'s 10-year relationship with McDonalds winding to a close at the end of the year, Disney Parks and Resorts is rolling out a new set of food guidelines "aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options," according to a company statement.

From now on, the Disney trademarks will only be used on food products that meet new guidelines that include limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar. The guidelines are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The new guidelines were developed for Disney in consultation with Dr. James Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Science Center in Denver, and Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.

Beginning in October, kids' meals in the parks are being served with low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice or water instead of soft drinks and side dishes like apple sauce or carrots instead of fries. Soda and fries will still be available as substitutions at no extra cost.

Disney plans to outlaw trans fats at the parks by the end of 2007 and from foods that display Disney trademarks by end of 2008.

Among the new requirements are the following:

  • Total fat will not exceed 30% of calories for main and side dishes and 35% for snacks.

  • Saturated fat will not exceed 10% of calories for main dishes, side dishes and snacks.

  • Added sugar will not exceed 10% of calories for main and side dishes and 25% for snacks.
  • Despite these stringent regulations, Disney World will not be devoid of the pleasures of ice cream and cake and other such fond experiences of childhood.

    According to a company statement: "Disney will continue to license special-occasion sweets such as birthday cakes and seasonal candy as part of its product range but will limit the number of indulgence items in its licensed portfolio to 15% by 2010. In addition, most special-occasion sweets will be available in single-serving packets."

    To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell at [email protected].

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