A working group from four federal agencies -- FTC, CDC, FDA and USDA -- has released new voluntary standards for marketing food to children.  Childrens' and consumer groups are not optimistic they'll work.


The new guidelines state that food marketed to children should contain at least one of several food groups (such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, beans, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and the like) without also containing excessive levels of saturated fat, sugars, sodium or trans fats.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest praises the new guidelines.  A spokesman says one key improvement is that companies would no longer be able to carefully craft their own definitions of “better for you foods” as they’ve been doing under the voluntary scheme already in place.

It remains to be seen what sorts of foods they can shoehorn into these guidelines, and it remains to be seen how many manufacturers will adopt them.

Consumer and Parents' groups say they don't think many companies will go along with voluntary standards.  They say actual legislation with real penalties for violators is the only way to rein in marketers seeking to reach children with food advertising.

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