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FTC, Others Submit Standards for Marketing to Kids

By Admin on December 30, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On December 15th, the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) conference of government agencies including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) announced some tentatively proposed standards that would apply to foods marketed to children, ages 2-17. These suggested standards were the result of the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act in which Congress included a direction for a multi-agency group to develop recommendations for marketing standards and suggestions for the types of media to which these standards should apply.

There are three proposed "standards" that companies would use to decided whether a food could be marketed to children. The standards are described as follows:

  • Standard One: Foods that are part of a "healthful diet" and may be marketed to children. These foods include, 100% fruit and fruit juices in all forms, 100% whole grains, and 100% non-fat and low-fat milk and yogurt. "100%" is defined “as no added nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners and no other functional ingredients added to the product, except for flavoring for water, milk, and yogurt.”
  • Standard Two: These foods are defined as providing a "meaningful contribution to a healthful diet." These foods are listed as; fruits, fruit juices, beans, vegetables, fish, nuts, and eggs, among other items. These foods must be in the product marketed to children in a specified amount.
  • Standard Three: Defines the amount of trans fat, saturated fat, sugar, and sodium permitted to be present in Standard Two foods. For example if a vegetable product (i.e., Vegetable Chips) contains enough vegetables to qualify as a Standard Two food, but contains 0.5 g or more of trans fat per serving, the food should not be marketed to children.

The group has said these proposed standards are not the actual regulations that will go into effect, but are part of a report that will be given to Congress no later than July 15, 2010. Additionally, the group will publish a notice in the Federal Register asking for input and feedback. Some of the questions they are seeking comment on include whether the standards should apply to one age group or two, should foods be added or subtracted to the set of standards listed, and how to define the term "marketing to children."

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