Children’s Meal Ordinance

Louisville Metro Council recently passed an ordinance requiring nutritional standards and a healthy default beverage in children’s meals.Children’s meals are defined as a combination of food items and a beverage that are sold together at a single price and primarily intended for consumption by children.

Beginning October 5, 2018, restaurants that provide children’s meals will be required to provide at least one of the following as the default beverage: milk, non-dairy milk, water, sparkling water, flavored water with no added natural or artificial sweeteners, fruit juice combined with water or carbonated water, or a beverage containing less than 25 calories per 8 ounces with no artificial sweeteners added. Customers will still be able to purchase sodas, juices and other sugary drinks upon request. 

The ordinance also requires at least one of the following menu options as well:

  • At least one – quarter cup of unfried fruit or unfried vegetables, excluding white potatoes;
  • A whole grain product that contains not less than 51 percent by weight in whole grain ingredients, or list whole grain as the first ingredient; or
  • A lean protein, defined as a food containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams and per labeled serving.

The Ordinance will go into effect on October 5, 2018.  Civil fines will not be assessed until Friday, June 7, 2019. 


Read the Children’s Meal Ordinance.

Click here to download the Children's Meal Ordinance Handout. 

Click here to see nutritional requirement examples and default beverage options.

Children’s Meal Ordinance FAQ 

1) Why did Louisville Metro Council enact this ordinance?

The local chapter of the American Heart Association approached us and Louisville Metro Council with the goal of instituting a healthy children's meal ordinance. The U.S. Centers for  Disease Control reports that the percentage of children and adolescents in the United States affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. A child with obesity is more likely to have obesity as an adult. And an adult with obesity has a higher risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. As of 2016, nearly 25 percent of sixth graders and 18 percent of kindergartners in Louisville Metro were obese.  Policies supporting healthier eating and drinking behaviors support Louisville Metro’s commitment to improving the health of all children and families.  Many restaurants and beverage companies have taken steps to help citizens address obesity by introducing lower and no-calorie options, displaying calorie information, encouraging citizens to drink more water, removing full-calorie beverages from schools and reducing calories from any of their products. Healthy Louisville 2020, our shared community health improvement plan, has the goal to develop policy and recommendations and implement programs to prevent and reduce risk factors that cause coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes reduce the proportion of Louisville residents who are overweight and obese.

2)  When does the ordinance take effect?

The Ordinance takes effect on Friday, October 5, 2018.

3) Will my establishment be cited/fined if we are not in compliance with the ordinance on October 5, 2018?

The establishment should be in compliance by the effective date of this ordinance. However, there will be a year-long education period; civil fines will not be assessed until June 7, 2019 (365 days after the passage and approval of the ordinance 6/7/2018).

4) Is my food service establishment required to meet the new Children’s Meal Ordinance?

If your establishment is located or you are operating in Jefferson County and offer a children’s meal you are mandated to meet the requirements of the ordinance.  A children’s meal is defined as combination of food items and a beverage that are sold together at a single price and primarily intended for consumption by children.

5) What is considered an ordering menu?

An ordering menu is any location where the menu is made available including but not limited to drive-thru menu boards, electronic/digital menu boards and/or kiosks, points of purchase menu boards and physical menu’s.

6) Can I verbally relay to patrons the food options or do I need to change all of my menus.

You can choose to verbally relay to patrons their options in lieu of changing your menu.

7) How do I denote the default beverage on my menu?    

A. You can list the default options only.

B. List the default options and comment that soda is available upon request. 

C. You can actually denote “default options” on the menu adjacent to these items.

8) What if your establishment has a create your own concept for the kids meals.  How does that concept work with the ordinance?

If the menu states that it is a Kids Menu and it has a combination of food items and a beverage that are sold together at a single price and primarily intended for consumption by children then you must meet the requirements of this ordinance.

9) Who can I contact if I have questions?

Call us at 502.574.6650 to speak with a member of our food safety team.

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