Could it be the beginning of the end for Happy Meals, that most trusted of tools for marketers in the fast-food industry? A local authority in the American state of California has voted to ban restaurants from giving away toys with meals that do not meet US nutritional criteria. The move, by Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, will force McDonald's to stop giving a toy away with all its Happy Meals, even those with apple sticks instead of French fries. The ruling applies to meals deemed to contain "excessive calories" - more than 120 calories for a drink, 200 calories for a single food item and 485 calories for a meal. There are also limits on sodium, excess fat and excess sugar. Ken Yeager, president of the Santa Clara County Board, said: "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes. "It helps parents make the choices they want for their children without toys and other freebies luring them toward food that fails to meet basic nutritional standards." McDonald's, which has a clutch of restaurants affected, said it was disappointed by the legislation. A spokesman said its Happy Meal provided many important nutrients including zinc, iron and calcium. The ordinance, which requires a second reading on May 11 before it can come into force, applies to large parts of Silcon Valley but does not include its major towns such as San Jose and Palo Alto which have their own local authorities. California was the first state to ban fizzy drinks in state schools. Legislators are considering a proposal to tax high calorie fizzy drinks and other sweetened beverages.