My comments on junk food marketing to children

Today is the deadline to file comments with Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children. Industry is fighting back hard. See Marion Nestle’s explanation here and submit your own comments here. This is what I just submitted: (I will be writing more on the industry lobbying soon.)

While I commend the IWG for recognizing that the current industry approach is a complete failure, I do not support the idea of voluntary regulations. The food and media industries have demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be trusted to protect children. The voluntary system has gotten us into this mess, so how could it possibly get us out of it? We need government to step in and do its job to protect children from corporate predatory marketing. It’s time for FTC to stop complaining that it does not have the authority to regulate and ask Congress to fix that problem. It’s also time for the smart lawyers at FTC and elsewhere to come up with feasible solutions that will stand up to First Amendment scrutiny. This can and must be done. Now, before it’s too late.

3 Responses to “My comments on junk food marketing to children”

  1. fredt says:

    The adult population first must realize the real nutrition facts, corruption and prostitution in the nutrition industry and then change at the personal level can start. Do not expect kids to change if you cannot sell the change to the adults. Good luck with that.

  2. I have a friend whose 5 year old talks about when he goes to college he will be able to eat at McDonald’s. That’s because his parents won’t take him there now. Maybe if more parents refused to buy their kids junk food, the marketing of these items would diminish. Passing laws banning the toys in happy meals doesn’t eliminate junk food choices at McDonald’s.

  3. Michele Hays says:

    Here’s what I sent in: While there is considerable question whether voluntary guidelines have any effect at all, there is also good evidence that government intervention can make a positive difference: for instance, marketing to children is strictly regulated in Denmark, where the rate of obesity is three times less than it is in the US.

    The so-called “Sensible Food Coalition” claims “Over a four year period (2011-2015), the cumulative lost sales (IF they complied with the voluntary guidelines) would be $152 billion, and the cumulative decline in jobs would be 378,000.” Unhealthy eating and inactivity contribute to 310,000 to 580,000 deaths each year – four to six times the number of people the SFPC suggests might lose their jobs; and the annual cost of medical treatment for obesity is suggested to be $147 billion annually.

    Marketing affects all of us, but children are more vulnerable to mixed messages than adults. Please consider intervening more directly.

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