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Berkeley, California became the first city to ban junk food at grocery store checkouts when their City Council passed an ordinance on September 22.

Starting in March 2021, candy, soda, and other junk food won’t be available in checkout lines in-store checkouts. Stores with spaces larger than 2,500 square feet must replace these “impulse buys” with other products. The size ordinance means that grocery chains like Safeway and Trader Joe’s will need to comply.

So what’s covered under the ordinance? The Healthy Checkout Ordinance, bans foods with five or more grams of added sugar and 200 milligrams or more of sodium or chewing gum or mints with added sugars and sweeteners. These items can still be sold in regular aisles but not at the checkout.

The change was sponsored by Councilmembers Kate Harrison and Sophie Hahn and passed unanimously.

According to Berkeleyside, both councilmembers and locals found that the lack of junk food at checkout would encourage healthy habits.  “As a mother of seven, I can definitely speak to the predator marketing that takes place at checkout counters,” said Ayanna Davis, director of programs at Healthy Black Families, during the public comment period, “This will continue to show Berkeley is a world leader in healthy living and taking on corporate predatory practices in our communities.”

Harrison called the change “really good behavioral economics.” And said, “It facilitates better choices for consumers but does not limit what they can buy.”

Read more news on healthy eating in One Green Planet, check out 10 spicy tofu recipes, and our top 10 recipes of the week!

Sign this petition to demand food justice, so that all neighborhoods can get fresh, healthy food!

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