food politics

Federal Government: Seriously, Kids Are Like Really Fat

Federal Government: Seriously, Kids Are Like Really Fat

Photo: iStockphoto

The FTC, FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the USDA are joining forces to propose a new set of "voluntary principles" aimed at companies that market junk food to kids. The reason? "Childhood obesity is the nation's most serious health threat," according to the accompanying fact sheet. (Did you know that chips and French fries "comprise half of all the vegetables kids eat"? Guess that baby-carrot campaign isn't working out so well.) The guidelines essentially say that if a company is going to advertise food to kids using mascots, online games, awesome TV ads, product placement in movies, and all the other tools that they use, then the food has to at least provide a "meaningful contribution to a healthful diet." It's probably safe to assume that things like Kool-Aid don't currently do that. Of course, the makers of all this crap aren't happy about it.

According to the Times, "The food industry immediately criticized the proposal, saying that it had already taken significant steps to improve recipes and change the way it advertises to children." Kellogg's saw fit to release a statement that said it'd review the proposal and that the company was committed to improving the nutritional content of its products. The company then, we imagine, forgot all about the new proposal and went right back to figuring out what kind of mascot they could use to sell Smorz cereal. Our suggestion would be something like a talking fudgy marshmallow that's into camping. Maybe like a forest-ranger marshmallow?

Interagency Working Group Seeks Input on Proposed Voluntary Principles for Marketing Food to Children [FTC]
U.S. Seeks New Limits on Food Ads for Children [NYT]

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