The New York Times reported that The Federal Government has proposed extensive new guidelines that could thrust the food industry to revamp how it advertises cereal, soda pop, snacks, restaurant meals and other foods to our children.
Citing an wave of childhood obesity, regulators are taking aim at a range of tactics used to market foods “high in sugar, fat or salt” to your children, We all know that kids respond to delightful cartoon characters like Toucan Sam, the brightly colored Fruit Loops pitchman, who appears on Saturday morning TV commercials, online games as well as on cereal boxes- and they too know this- that is why they target our kids! Regulators are asking food makers and restaurant companies to make a choice: make your products healthier or stop advertising them to youngsters.
The guiding principles, released by the Federal Trade Commission, cover a broad range of marketing efforts, including television and print ads, Web sites, online games that act as disguised advertisements, social media, product placements in movies, the use of movie characters in cross-promotions and fast-food children’s meals. The addition of digital media, such as product-based games, represents one of the government’s strongest efforts so far to address the extension of children’s advertising into the online world, which children’s health advocates say is a growing problem. The FTC said that in 2006, food companies spent nearly $2.3 billion to advertise to children.
The guidelines are meant to be voluntary; however some companies are liable to face “weighty pressure” to implement them. Companies that choose to take part would have 5 to 10 years to bring their products and marketing into “compliance.”
Due to the onset of “childhood obesity”, the government is suggesting there is a darker side to candy, cereal, as well as the movie and television characters used to endorse our foods.
“Our proposal really covers all forms of marketing to kids, and the product packaging and the images and themes on the cereal boxes have tremendous appeal to kids,” said Michelle K. Rusk, a lawyer with the trade commission. “The goal is to encourage children to eat more healthy foods because obesity is a huge health crisis.”
The course of action calls for foods that are advertised to our children to meet two basic requirements. They would have to include certain “wholesome ingredients,” like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, or low-fat milk; and no “unhealthy” amounts of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and salt.
The sugar requirement would limit cereals to 8 grams of added sugar per serving, which is far less than many popular cereals have today. Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch, for example, contain 12 grams of sugar a serving.
The salt restrictions are particularly rigid, and many packaged foods on the shelves today would have a hard time meeting them. In an initial “phase-in period,” the guidelines will call for many foods to have no more than 210 milligrams of sodium a serving, while main dishes and meals, including both restaurant food and packaged food, could have no more than 450 milligrams. The sodium restrictions would get tougher over time.
“With all the concern about childhood obesity, I think there’s a lot of pressure on companies to do the right thing and follow these standards,” said Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest
As parents, we all want what’s best for our growing and highly influential children. What do kids love more than anything? You named it-Candy. Whether it is hard, sticky, gooey or chocolaty; they beg to have those “high in sugar, empty calories snacks.”
Chocolate, long thought of as “junk food,” has been studied by Scientists throughout the years. They have discovered that “Dark Chocolate” can contribute to your health! Findings from numerous studies show that when “raw, dark cocoa,” that is cold pressed; is high in natural heart healthy Antioxidants!
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