Congress Needn't Rescue Junk-Food Marketers from Voluntary Government Nutrition Guidelines

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan

October 12, 2011

What an unseemly spectacle it is to see panicked junk-food advertisers running to Congress for help fending off the innocuous, voluntary guidelines for food marketed to children proposed by the Interagency Working Group. I could understand how the industry might play the “national nanny” card if the government were proposing mandatory nutrition standards. But, in fact, the Administration is merely proposing non-binding, totally voluntary guidelines that, if adopted, would help make the industry’s own self-regulatory program more effective.

It is to the great discredit of the food, entertainment, and advertising industries that they have resorted to a misleading campaign of fear-mongering and phony facts to kill these voluntary nutrition standards. But I suppose if you’re in the business of convincing young children to want to eat Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisps, Kool-Aid, and fake “fruit” snacks, it makes perfect sense that you’d try to change the conversation away from nutrition and health.

I hope the House joins the Senate in support of the Interagency Working Group for Food Marketed to Children, made up of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not junk food marketers who deserve special Congressional protection—it’s children and parents who do.


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