Junk food advertising standards to change by industry request
Junk-food producers have agreed to a new set of marketing standards in a supposed attempt to promote children's health. We know what you're thinking. No, this isn't a good-faith effort to reduce the number of rainbows, stars, hearts and horseshoes in our national diet; yes, it's a cynical ploy to get the government off their back.
This story begins last year, when the Federal Trade Commission announced a set of voluntary guidelines aimed at food manufacturers, asking them to phase out their child-seducing cartoon characters — a move similar to the death of Joe Camel — and setting an industry-wide standard for what constitutes healthy food. Unregulated, food makers can claim food is "healthy" because it's low in sugar, while ignoring the fact that it's high in sodium.
The proposal was never implemented due to
industry lobbying Republican complaints about this baby-shaking nanny state of ours. So, instead of heeding the FTC's voluntary guidelines, the food industry has set its own voluntary guidelines. Reports AP:
While the government proposal put broad limits on fats, sugars and sodium that would apply to marketing of all foods, the industry has suggested different guidelines for different foods, saying that is a more practical approach.
The industry guidelines for children's cereals, for example, would allow them to be advertised if they have around 10 grams of sugar a serving, while the formula used by the government would discourage advertising for cereals that have 8 grams of sugars in an equivalent serving. That would mean General Mills would still be able to advertise Honey Nut Cheerios cereal under the industry guidelines but would be discouraged under the voluntary government guidelines. Other sugary cereals such as Trix, Lucky Charms and Count Chocula would also make the cut under the industry numbers.
That's what it all comes down to: two grams of sugar. These sugary cereals are part of the reason America's the third fattest country in the world. But go ahead, keep feeding them to your kids — while you still have legal custody.
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