When First Lady Michelle Obama makes an announcement today about marketing healthier foods to children, she'll be accompanied by the popular Sesame Street characters Elmo and Rosita--and the less well known, albeit more powerful, representatives of the Produce Marketing Association, a trade group, and Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit founded by Obama herself, which has strong corporate support.
The announcement comes on the heels of an industry summit and major speech Obama gave in late September, in which the first lady made her strongest statement in recent years about advertising practices aimed at children. "You know that ...Continue reading
Days after receiving several campaign checks from the food lobby last May, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat who is up for reelection this year, sent a letter raising concerns about the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to develop voluntary guidelines aimed at toning down the marketing of junk food to kids.Continue reading
Last summer, a bipartisan group of House members from Pennsylvania wrote federal agencies complaining that proposed guidelines restricting the marketing of unhealthy food to children marked “an alarming regulatory overreach.” They emphasized their sugary roots in “the leading confectionary producing state in the nation.”
Indeed, Pennsylvania is home to the 117-year-old Hershey Company, maker of the ubiquitous Hershey’s kiss. But what the lawmakers from the Keystone State didn’t say was that they had other “constituents”—out-of-state campaign cash constituents, many of them Washington-based trade associations.
The massive lobbying push by food and media interests against the controversial guidelines ...Continue reading
A major lobbying push by a powerful group of food and media companies appears to be working, with a federal agency indicating it would back off on parts of proposed voluntary guidelines for marketing food to children. The guidelines are meant to combat childhood obesity.
Also, language in a pending congressional spending bill, one of several that Congress must approve before the end of the year to keep the government running, threatens to prohibit the agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), from issuing a final version of the nutritional guidelines at all without doing a cost-benefit analysis first.
Big companies ...Continue reading
When Jon Leibowitz faced a Senate committee yesterday afternoon for a hearing on his renomination as commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), he got a grilling from several Senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, on a controversial issue: the agency’s proposed guidelines on advertising food to children, meant to help in the fight to reduce childhood obesity.
All of these senators have taken substantial sums in campaign contributions from food industry and media interests that have been lobbying against the proposed guidelines, which the food industry has charged go too far.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, asked Leibowitz if ...Continue reading