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Berkeley Is Trying To Become The Nation’s First City To Ban Junk Food From Checkout Aisles

Zhuongicam KUNPORE
Checkout Aisle

Berkeley is trying to become the nation’s first city to ban junk food from supermarket checkout aisles.

The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved the Healthy Checkout Ordinance on Tuesday. It will require retailers larger than 2,500 square feet to replace candy, soda, and other sugary foods with more nutritious options. The bill was written by Vice Mayor Sophia Hahn and Councilmember Kate Harrison.

At the council meeting, Harrison said “it’s good science.”

Food choices are strongly affected by the environments in which they are made. Placement of unhealthy snacks near your register increases the likelihood that customers will purchase these foods and drinks when willpower is weakest at the end of a long shopping trip.

Harrison also said that unhealthy dietary choices can contribute to the same diseases that result in higher mortality rates from COVID-19.

The ordinance will affect stores including Walgreens, Safeway, Berkeley Bowl, and CVS. CVS told NBC Bay Area that they were reviewing the new legislation. It will go into effect next March, to give stores more time to prepare.

This story was produced by David Exumé and voiced by David Boyer.