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Berkeley to become first city in the country to ban unhealthy food in supermarket check-out lanes

The "Healthy Checkout Ordinance" will target "impulse buying."

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American supermarket checkouts
American supermarket checkouts
(MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty)
Updated: September 25, 2020 - 6:15pm

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Berkeley, California next year will implement a first-in-the-nation ban on junk food in supermarket checkout aisles, per a regulation passed this week by the city council. 

The Healthy Checkout Ordinance seeks to "eliminate the encouragement of unplanned purchases of unhealthy foods and beverages" that proliferate at supermarket checkouts. 

The ordinance, which will go into effect in January, directs "stores over 2,500 square feet in size to sell more nutritious food and beverage options in their checkout areas."

Under the rule, sodas will no longer be permitted in checkout retail displays; additionaly, only foods with "no more than 5 grams of added sugars" will be allowed. 

No candy will be permitted, but "gums and mints" will be allowed, provided they contain no added sugar. 

"Stores can still sell candy and soda, just not at your child's eye level in the checkout," City councilwoman Kate Harrison told media this week. 

"It's not a ban, it's a nudge," she said.

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