In 2009, Congress directed several federal agencies to form the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Food Marketed to Children to develop voluntary principles for companies that market food to kids. The IWG responded by proposing a strong set of voluntary principles.
Unfortunately, many food industry and media companies don’t want to follow the IWG recommendations. Instead, 17 major food and beverage companies that are part of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative unveiled their own guidelines for marketing to kids — guidelines that are much weaker than those put forth by the IWG. Some of these companies have also mounted a major public relations campaign against the government-proposed principles.
With the help of advocates like you, more than 28,000 parents, health organizations, and others submitted comments supporting the proposed IWG guidelines.
Because the federal government’s proposed guidelines are facing significant pressure from the food and entertainment industries, we need your help again.
Please write today to President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the agencies that are part of the IWG to encourage the Administration to finalize and release a strong set of voluntary food marketing guidelines as Congress requested.
- Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
Jon D. Leibowitz
- Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA)
Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
- President of the United States
I write to ask you to ensure that the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Food Marketed to Children completes its congressionally required task to release a strong set of voluntary nutrition principles and marketing definitions for food marketed to children.
I applaud the Administration’s work to address childhood obesity. However, for that work to be successful, it must address unhealthy food marketing to children. While a number of factors contribute to obesity and children's poor diets, food marketing plays a key role. There is a lot of food marketed to kids, and too much of it is for unhealthy foods.
A number of food companies have pledged to improve their marketing to children. Yet, the vast majority of marketed products remain high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, or added sugars and/or are low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Companies can do better.
I understand that food and entertainment companies are pushing hard against the IWG’s work. But I strongly urge you to complete this important work to protect children and support parents' ability to feed them well.
Please stand with our nation’s children and encourage industry officials to do better by them. Please finalize and release voluntary food marketing guidelines as Congress requested, and which so many parents, health professionals and researchers support.
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