A new ordinance passed by the Perris City Council aims to limit the amount of junk food displayed at the checkout aisles at grocery stores.

City Council members passed Ordinance 1423 in February, and it went into effect in July.

The ordinance requires grocers larger than 2,500 square feet to provide healthy food or beverage items as the “default” selection at checkout aisles, a news release said.

While the new ordinance requires healthy food items to be more apparent to customers in grocery store checkout aisles, it doesn’t prohibit the store’s ability to sell junk food nor prohibit customers from purchasing such items.

Public Health Advocates, a statewide advocacy group, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Inland Valley introduced and encouraged the initiative.

“As a youth-serving organization, we are excited to see healthier options at checkout to help create a brighter and healthier future in Perris for our youth,” Julia Burch, assistant director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Inland Valley, said in a statement.

City elected officials echoed similar sentiments.

However, not everyone is on board with the new plan. The California Grocers Association issued a statement about the new ordinance, describing it as a “misguided strategy that is unfriendly to businesses.”

While the association did say that it supports the city’s steps towards creating healthier lifestyles for residents, it believes that the ordinance would limit residents ability to make healthy choices for themselves.

The association’s letter to Perris Mayor Michael Vargas regarding the initiative can be read here.

This isn’t the first time a California city has passed such an ordinance. Berkeley City Council passed a similar measure that has been in effect since March 2021.