Tony the Tiger may be filing for unemployment.
The Interagency Working Group, comprised of representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, recently outlined its "Tentative Proposed Standards for Marketing Foods to Children" between two and 17 years of age.
According to the new standards:
The issue is: the immediate and concrete future of these marketing guidelines remains unforeseen.
The standards were presented at a "Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity" series of workshops back in December 15, 2009, BNET Today reported.
The Interagency Working Group stated it would submit a report containing its findings and recommendations on the proposed standards to Congress no later than July 15, 2010.
But as the fifteenth of July creeps closer with no recommendations in sight, the study merely exists as another example of the growing awareness of edible advertising's impact on children.
Just last month, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) threatened it would sue McDonald's within 30 days unless it stopped pairing toys with Happy Meals.
Meanwhile, Yale released a study that showed more than two-thirds of children prefer snack foods with Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo or Shrek displayed on the package - and about fifty percent of those kids said foods tasted better from packages with the cartoon characters.
In 2010 alone, cereal giant Kellogg's faced the wrath of the FTC twice.
First, the FTC said that the company erroneously claimed how Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal was "clinically shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20%."
As Kellogg's agreed to desist its Frosted Mini-Wheat ads, the company simultaneously started packaging their Rice Krispies brand with claims that the cereal "now helps support your child's immunity," with "25 percent Daily Value of Antioxidants and Nutrients – Vitamins A, B, C, and E."
Even prior to that, the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) expressed its concern over the Kellogg's Pop-Tarts catchphrase: "Made with Real Fruit." In reality, the breakfast pastry contains less than six percent of fruit.
"We hope that the Commission action announced today communicates to industry that it has an obligation to be honest with the public, and that the FTC will act swiftly to challenge questionable health claims about children's food products. Our kids and parents deserve no less," Kellogg wrote in a statement after the questioning and cease-and-desist order of their Rice Krispies campaign.
And as childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., challenge children's food products is exactly what the public keeps on doing.
Previously – read our Q & A with Top Chef's Tom Colicchio on the topic of school lunches, childhood hunger and the link between poverty and obesity.
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