CSPI Reacts to Settlement of KFC Deceptive Ad Case

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

June 3, 2004

While I'm glad that the Federal Trade Commission took action in response to our complaint about KFC's ads, the remedy is a day late and a dollar short.

The obviously deceptive nutrition claims made about greasy fried chicken in these KFC ads made the campaign a national laughingstock. The FTC should have taken this opportunity to send a strong signal to food manufacturers that deceptive advertising about nutrition would not be tolerated. The FTC could have ordered KFC to pay financial penalties or to run corrective advertising, but instead it just ordered the company to stop running ads that had stopped running last year.

At a time when America is experiencing epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, the FTC should undertake a broad investigation into the billions of dollars in food advertising campaigns, particularly those directed at young children, that portray soft drinks, burgers and fries, and other junk foods as healthful or fun, without a word about the products’ detrimental effects. I think they would find that Colonel Sanders has plenty of company.


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