Comment period ending on proposed U.S. children’s food marketing guidelines

Posted by Marty Brochstein on June 02, 2011

Last week, the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children — which includes representatives of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — held a public hearing into its proposals that would guide food companies in their marketing efforts toward children and teens. If adopted, the voluntary guidelines would go into effect in 2016. (Click here for a Washington Post report on the hearings.) Of course, the definition of the word “voluntary” is hardened by the fact that the guidelines are being put together by four government entities.

In addition, the working group is accepting written comments on its efforts until July 14.

Much of the preliminary proposed principles (click here for a copy of the report, which was issued on April 28) relate to improving “the nutritional profile of foods marketed to children.” It also contains an extensive section on the definition of “marketing targeted to children and adolescents,” essentially adopting the language developed by the FTC in its 2008 report to Congress on the subject.

We’re monitoring the situation, and will let membership know of any developments. We’d love to hear the views of members and non-members alike concerning the best path toward reasonable guidelines. What are your ideas? Let us know in the comment section below.

Meanwhile, LIMA UK has been involved in efforts to work with the British government on drafting regulations on the same topic. It had been working for over a year with the Food Standards Agency, but, with the election of a new government last year, responsibility for nutritional matters was transferred to the Department of Health.

The handover to the DoH was completed in January 2011. Several attempts to get meetings have been thwarted by personnel and logistical issues, but that effort will be resumed after Licensing Expo.