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US: Big food and drink companies to limit kid’s junk food ads

Eleven big US food and drink companies have agreed to limit junk food advertising to children under 12. Foods they advertise during children’s TV programmes will have to meet the companies’ own nutrition standards. Some have also agreed to expand their bans to radio, print and the Internet.

They hope their voluntary efforts will prevent federal legislation. This follows changes Kelloggs announced in June to the way it markets food to children after consumer groups threatened legal action.

Critics say that these self-policing pledges don’t go far enough. Advertising guidelines without an industry-wide standard or method of enforcement won’t be enough. And most children watch TV outside specific children’s programmes.

Limiting Ads of Junk Food to Children

“Trying to persuade critics the industry does not need government regulation, 11 big food companies, including McDonald’s, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo, have agreed to stop advertising to children under 12 products that do not meet certain nutritional standards.”

Read more: NY Times, 18 July 2007

CCFC Statement on Major Food Company Marketing Pledges; Latest Indication Self-Regulation has Failed

US lobby group Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood say they are pleased that the food industry is finally acknowledging the links between food marketing and the childhood obesity epidemic and that their most unhealthy products should not be marketed to children. However, CCFC has major concerns. Because each company has different nutrition and marketing standards, it will be difficult to track adherence to the new rules and there is no mechanism for enforcement. Family programmes aren’t included in the new rules so the most popular programme for 6-11 year olds – American Idol – isn’t covered. And because the new rules are voluntary, companies can drop them if and when they wish.

Read more: Media release, CCFC, 18 July 2007

Published on July 18, 2007 in International news