FTC Seeks Comment On Plan To Study Food Marketers' Practices

The FTC is seeking public comment by Dec. 21 on its plan to gather data from 50 major food companies on how they market food to children and how much they spend.

Products likely will include quick-service restaurant items, breakfast cereals, snack foods, candy and gum, carbonated and noncarbonated beverages, frozen and chilled desserts, prepared meals, and dairy products, including milk and yogurt.

After taking the comments into account, the FTC will send the plan to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. Jackie Dizdul, an FTC spokesperson, said there is no timetable set for the data collection. The requests would be the equivalent of subpoenas.

Starting in 2007, Britain is banning ads for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar from TV programs targeted to the under-16 crowd. It is fear of such a move in the United States that earlier this month led the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative--which includes 10 of the largest food and beverage companies as charter sponsors--to launch a new initiative designed to strengthen self-regulation and to include messages to children about healthier choices and lifestyles.



The Institute of Medicine has estimated the food industry spends up to $12 billion annually to reach children through media and advertising. And, it linked the flood of junk-food ads to growing waistlines.

But advertising and grocery industries say that ad spending aimed at children dropped from 1993 to 2003, and questioned whether such a link is valid.

Next story loading loading..