by Marion Nestle
Dec 17 2011

Congress caves in again. Delays IWG recommendations.

It’s hard to believe how thoroughly Congress is in bed with the food industry but here is another example: the House has just inserted language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012  requiring the Federal Trade Commission’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Food Marketed to Children to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of the final recommendations in its report.

This, of course, will delay or even kill the IWG’s recommendations for voluntary nutrition standards for marketing foods to kids (see previous posts).

Get this: Section 626 of the Act says:

None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Federal Trade Commission to complete the draft report entitled “Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts” unless the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children complies with Executive Order 13563.

And what, pray tell, is Executive Order 13563?  Agencies may:

  • Propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs
  •  Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society
  • Select, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, those approaches that maximize net benefits
  •  To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives
  • Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation

Recall that the industry spent a reported $37 million to oppose the IWG recommendations.  Apparently, it was money well spent.

Let’s hope the Senate has sense enough to delete this section so that the FTC can put its long-delayed and already watered-down standards in place.

Additions, December 18: No such luck.  Consider this passed.  Thanks to Michele Simon for pointing out that Congress cannot legally require a cost/benefit analysis of the IWG guidelines because they are voluntary and, therefore, not regulations.  And thanks to Margo Wootan for explaining how and where to contact Congress.



Sorry to say that today, looks like the Senate passed the budget bill intact:

  • Alfred Noble
  • December 17, 2011
  • 6:20 pm

Well, we sure do have the best government that money can buy. Seems a shame though, that the people’s representatives work so hard for their corporate funders and not so much for the people the politicians are (theoretically) elected to represent. But hey, this is America!

We need everyone’s help to make sure that the Administration does not use this as an excuse to abandon the marketing guidelines. The industry lobbied hard and got the FTC stripped of its ability to regulate food marketing to kids in 1980. If it succeeds in keeping the government from issuing even voluntary recommendations, the government will never be able to go near food marketing to kids again. Let the Administration know you don’t want them to cave to industry pressure:

Well, that’s the 1% for you. Occupy Wall Street is alive and well and has moved to the boroughs. We are the Food and Environmental Justice Working Group of Occupy Queens, and we have linked your blog to ours: One of our main concerns is making healthy, organic, non-GMO food available to all people, including those of limited means. For now, it is more affordable for them to eat at MacDonalds.

Check out the Occupy Queens website for meeting dates and places.

All are welcome

Looking forward to Christmas

[...] down or destroys campaigns and initiatives to improve our food system and policies, such as the voluntary guidelines for advertising to children that sparked our debate in the first place. In my opinion, government = Big Ag & large food [...]

[...] Marketing and advertising issues in response to Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) (see previous posts) [...]

[...] Marketing and advertising issues in response to Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) (see previous posts) [...]

Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this

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