Federal Working Group Proposes New Standards for Marketing Food to Children

September 21, 2010

In response to rising concern about childhood obesity in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC; Washington, DC), in partnership with other government agencies, has published new nutrition standards for how food should be marketed to children. The standards, published last week, were developed by the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (Working Group), a group made up of representatives from FTC, FDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In response to rising concern about childhood obesity in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC; Washington, DC), in partnership with other government agencies, has published new nutrition standards for how food should be marketed to children.

The standards, published last week, were developed by the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (Working Group), a group made up of representatives from FTC, FDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Foods marketed to children would be required to 'provide a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet,' as characterized by either of two options outlined in the Working Group...s report. Option A would require 50% of a food...s weight to come from healthful foods, including fruit, vegetable, whole grain, nuts, seeds, or beans. Option B would require a marketed food to contain any number of a minimum amount of listed foods that characterize a 'healthful diet.' The full list of standards can be viewed here

Foods exempt from the new standards would include 100% content products of fruits, vegetables, non-fat and low-fat milk and yogurt, whole grains, and water.

'The federal government is headed in exactly the right direction with the draft nutrition standards,' said Margo G. Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center of Science in the Public Interest (Washington, DC) in an official press release, last week. 'If adopted, the landscape of kids... food advertising would shift quite dramatically in favor of foods that promote health, and away from foods that promote obesity and disease.

The working group intends to submit a final report to Congress no later than July 15, 2010.

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