Food Co Wins Weakened Advertising Guidelines

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it has testified before a US House of Representatives hearing on the FTC’s efforts to help address childhood obesity. The FTC, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture, formed the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWGFMC) in 2009 to respond to childhood obesity. The IWGFMC released “proposed voluntary principles to guide industry self-regulation for public comment in April 2011″. The FTC’s testimony explains that in response to the comments received, the IWGFMC is “considering making significant revisions to its initial proposed principles … including revising the marketing principles to more narrowly focus them on those techniques that are used most extensively to market to children”.
FTC’s media release (12 October 2011)

Bloomberg reports that the FTC’s scaling back of its proposed guidelines to limit advertising junk foods to children is in response to industry pressure. Reportedly, large companies including Nestle and Kellog Co (Kellogs) resisted the FTC’s April 2011 recommendations which included limiting advertising for food with added sugars, salt and saturated fat through “child- or teen-oriented” advertisements. Kellogs reportedly argued that the recommendations would impose “severe financial harm” on the company because it would have to remove Tony the Tiger from its Frosted Flakes boxes. Nutritionists have reportedly criticised the FTC’s softening of the guidelines.
Bloomberg: Foodmakers Win Scaled Back Marketing U.S. Guidelines for Kids’ Snack Foods (13 October 2011)
(Source: FTC; Bloomberg)