Posted by: SmithaM | October 17, 2011

Government scales back junk food ads targeting children

But the food industry is not satisfied.

Although the guidelines are meant to be voluntary, the food industry, which includes companies like Nestle and Kelloggs have aggressively lobbied against them. In a move that considers these objections along with some of the suggestions put forth by the industry, the collaborating government agencies are softening their approach.

“…Voluntary guidelines for industry proposed by the government earlier this year set maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium, among other requirements, and asked food companies not to market foods that go beyond those parameters to children ages 2 through 17. The guidelines would apply to many media venues, including ads on television, in stores and on the Internet, in an effort to stem rising child obesity levels.

The guidelines also applied to food packaging and store displays, but officials backed off that part of the proposal at a House hearing on the subject Wednesday.

The food industry, backed by House Republicans who held the hearing, has aggressively lobbied against the voluntary guidelines, saying they are too broad and would limit marketing of almost all of the nation’s favorite foods, including some yogurts and many children’s cereals. Though the guidelines would be voluntary, food companies say they fear the government will retaliate against them if they don’t go along…

…David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the coalition of government agencies is “in the midst of making significant revisions” to the original proposal.

Among the changes he suggested are narrowing the age group targeted and focusing on children aged 2 to 11 instead of up to age 17 and allowing marketing of the unhealthier foods at fundraisers and sporting events. Vladeck also said that his agency would not recommend that companies change packaging or remove brand characters from food products that don’t qualify, as was originally suggested in the guidelines…”

Read the complete new article.

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