Submission Number: 00190
Received: 6/15/2011 2:26:34 PM
Commenter: Jason Ulrich
Organization: Popular Front
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts; Project No. P094513
Attachments: No Attachments
From: Popular Front
To: Interagency Working Group (IWG)
FTC, FDA, USDA and CDC
Re: Proposed Ban on Food Advertising
To Whom It May Concern,
We are writing to express our opposition to the Proposed Nutrition Principles, which describes food products the government deems inappropriate to market to children (ages 2-11) and adolescents (ages 12-17). If adopted, this Advertising Ban would bar virtually all food advertising, including unsweetened cereals that are authorized to make FDA health claims. This proposal will not accomplish the stated goal of curbing child obesity.
As a 22-year old Minnesota advertising agency that has long supported successful Minnesota food manufacturers, we find the Nutrition Principles to be misguided and misleading.
We say this for the following reasons:
- The principles aren’t supported by the facts: Advertising does not cause child obesity. In a 2005 report commissioned by Congress, the Institute of Medicine concluded that “evidence is not sufficient to arrive at any finding about a causal relationship from television advertising to adiposity among children and youth.” Additionally, the FTC’s Bureau of Economics has reported a 9% decline in food ads seen by children in 2004 versus 1977. New research conducted by Georgetown Economic Services shows that food and beverage advertising on children’s programming fell by an additional 50% between 2004 and 2010.
- The principles aren’t “voluntary”: In order to avoid First Amendment challenges, IWG has positioned its Advertising Ban as a set of “voluntary” standards rather than mandates. In their current form, IWG standards are voluntary with a caveat stating they may become mandatory if the industry does not comply. This positioning subjects the food industry to costly and intrusive investigations regarding their marketing practices and expenditures. Federal agencies should not be allowed to suppress the sales of products they don’t approve of by suppressing speech – and yet remain immune from judicial review by calling their directives “voluntary.”
The details surrounding these proposed IWG standards are very alarming in that they don’t appear to be supported by facts or focused on solving the problem of child obesity. Similar bans in other countries have had no positive impact.
We respectfully ask you to stop these restrictions from being enacted.
President | Popular Front