() Have you watched Saturday morning cartoons with your kids recently? Do you notice how many advertisements are directed towards children? A July 2008 report by the Federal Trade Commission stated that the food industry spent over $1.6 billion dollars on marketing to kids. According to Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics, this number is probably underestimated. Last week the Federal Trade Commission held a public forum on marketing to children. The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Foods Marketed to Children, brings together the FTC, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Drug Administration. It has has been charged with developing recommended nutritional standards for consumers under the age of 17 by July, 2010. While this may sound like a step in right direction, according to Nestle, these standards are voluntary, and it’s quite unlikely the industry will do what it promises.
Years of the industry’s “self-regulation” has not worked. We have seen an increase in childhood obesity and the rates of diabetes among young people are rising as well. The food industry can use front of package marketing suggesting that foods are a great source of fiber, calcium, folic acid, vitamins and minerals, etc. without mandatory regulation. As long as cartoon characters and prizes are included in the marketing of foods kids will continue to ask parents for them.
What do you think about the governments attempts to regulate the food industry?
For more information visit Marion Nestle’s website about Food Politics.