by Marion Nestle
Jul 14 2011

Last chance to comment on proposed kids’ food marketing standards

Today is the last day to comment on the federal Interagency Working Group’s (IWG) proposed nutrition standards for marketing food products to kids.  The IWG is a joint project of four federal agencies with at least some responsibility for public health: FTC, FDA, USDA, and CDC.

As I discussed back in April, I thought the IWG standards were generous and gave food companies plenty of room to market junk foods with impunity.  Maybe, but that’s not how food companies see it.  They think it will cause so much havoc with their marketing that they are fighting back, big time.

Large food companies joined together to create the “Sensible Food Policy Coalition.”  This entity paid for an economic assessment.  On July 8, the Coalition released Global Insight’s report of this assessment—a call to arms arguing that the “administration’s misguided ad restrictions would cost 74,000 American jobs.”

The report’s point is that restricting advertising would have unintended economic consequences, particularly losses in sales and revenues, and therefore jobs.  The report estimates an astonishing loss of $28.3 billion from manufacturing and retail sales, just in the first year, translating to “at least 74,000 lost jobs.”

This makes me think that the standards may have some merit.  Campbell Soup, for example, has just announced that because its low-salt soups aren’t selling, they are putting the salt back in.  Oh.

In any case, industry pushback seems to be having an effect.  As I discussed in my post a week or so ago, David Vladeck of the FTC used his blog to discuss industry mythology about the proposed standards.  I thought his statement backpedaled on even a hint of federal regulation of food marketing to kids.

MYTH #2: The Working Group’s proposal is regulation by the back door

….This is a report to Congress, not a rulemaking proceeding, so there’s no proposed government regulation. In fact, the FTC Act explicitly forbids the Commission from issuing a rule restricting food advertising to children. So the FTC couldn’t issue a rule on this subject if it wanted to, which it doesn’t. Simply put, a report like this can’t be a rule — whether it’s delivered to Congress by the front door, the back door, or the kitchen door.

The IWG is collecting comments on its proposals through close of business today.  If you need a rationale for filing a comment, read Larry Cohen’s piece in the Huffington Post.

Comments don’t have to be long or complicated.  Just say what you think.

Go to this site to file them.

Or go to the PreventObesity site for additional suggestions.

Do this today!

 

 

 

  • Suzanne

    Important information to share with IWG can be found here:

    http://www.obesitymyths.com/myth5.4.htm

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  • Jhon Stefler

    What you wrote is sooo true! Amazing article.Do you update your blog daily? I saved yours in my bookmarks. Would it be feasible to do a guest article sometime?

    Jhon Stefler
    Findrxonline blog

  • http://blog.greenconsciousness.org/ Greenconsciousness

    This is off topic but I think you will find it important. A local progressive organization in WI has been pushing a republican bill which supposedly will eliminate subsidies to Big Ag.

    Here is the bill info: the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act, or REAPS Act (H.R. 2487), which would eliminate agriculture direct payments subsidies completely and permanently.

    Here is a press release from Congressman Flake, a lead bill sponsor: http://flake.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=251303.

    WISPRIG wrote me:

    “Soon, Congress will take up a precedent-setting, bipartisan bill that would eliminate the worst of the worst: $28 billion in so-called direct payments over the next 10 years. [1]

    The junk food lobby is on the ropes, but they’ve got the money to make a last stand. We can’t match them dollar for dollar, but with your help, we can launch a major grassroots effort from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C.

    Direct payments are a big reason why Twinkies are cheaper than carrots, by making corn and soy-based products like corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil so cheap. [2]

    Wisconsin will be a battleground in the upcoming fight, with mega-farmers putting intense pressure on our senators — Sens. Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson — which is why your involvement is so critical.

    Unfortunately, big agricultural interests have held sway in Washington for a long time, and they won’t give up easily. They have money and connections and they will leverage both to preserve the giveaways — even at the expense of kids’ health. They spent more than $200 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions in the last presidential election year alone. [3]”

    Thanks for your support,

    Bruce Speight
    WISPIRG Director

    [1] Notification from the office of Rep. Jeff Flake.
    [2] Michael Pollan, You are what you grow, New York Times, Apr. 27, 2007.
    [3] Agribusiness influence and lobbying, OpenSecrets, 2010.

    I AM LOOKING AT THIS WITH SKEPTICISM – THIS MIGHT BE JUST A FOOLISH HOPE FOR WISPIRG –

    THE REPUBS ALWAYS CALL THEIR ATTACKS ON THE ENVIRONMENT, GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

    I wrote this guy Flake and he replied : “On May 25th, I voted with 39 of my Senate colleagues for the Ryan budget”.

    YOU KNOW THE, I DRINK TWO $350.00 BOTTLES OF WINE WHILE DINING WITH LOBBIESTS AFTER WORKING TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICAID AND MEDICARE. THAT PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET.

    ABC’s Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: “As Democrats press to eliminate tax breaks and subsidies for big oil and gas companies, a growing number of Republicans are voicing agreement – on the condition that they also eliminate subsidies a far broader range of corporate interests, including ethanol, agriculture, and renewable energy.

    On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., promised an effort to eliminate all subsidies meant to encourage specific investments by corporations.”

    So I am asking you Marion, if you are aware of this bill which probably also cuts subsidies to renewable energy equally with cuts to BP and calls it FAIR.

    Or can you point me to a place where they are discussing this bill?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neHbUI2JiPw probiotics supplements

    The congress must discuss more out of it, considering all the children not only those who can afford it but also those who really needs it.

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