Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513 #00251

Submission Number:
Chris Wright
MInnesota Timberwolves
Initiative Name:
Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513
July 5, 2011 Federal Trade Commission Office of the Secretary Room H-113 (Annex W) 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580 Re: Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: FTC Project No. P094513 To Whom It May Concern: This Comment is submitted by The Minnesota Timberwolves in opposition to the ban on advertising of food to children and adolescents, as proposed by the FTC, USDA, FDA and CDC. The Minnesota Timberwolves organization supports food companies in their opposition to this unwarranted restriction on their ability to advertise their products, even products that the FDA defines as healthy under its own regulations. A particularly troubling aspect of the proposed advertising ban is its overbroad assessment of what constitutes marketing to kids. Even if one were to proceed on the unsupported assumption that banning advertising of any foods would combat obesity, and even if one were to make the further leap and assume that it somehow would be sensible to ban the marketing of foods that FDA defines as healthy to kids, it would still be important to look at the precise definitions of the marketing activities that would be banned. These definitions, which are referred to, but not explicitly listed in the regulatory proposal itself, are far broader than they are portrayed. Among the activities that would be banned: Portrayals of athletes or celebrities that are highly popular with children. Sponsorships of charities that benefit children. Depictions of characters like the Easter Bunny or even Crunch, our team mascot. Advertising or promotional activities at events (like sports events attended by children. These are incredibly broad definitions, and will suppress speech directed to, and received by, adults. We are deeply concerned about the ill-defined and overbroad restrictions these guidelines place on marketing in general. As an all-family entertainment outlet, we see these guidelines as a threat to our business and to the businesses of our partners in the food industry. Respectfully, Chris Wright President