June 21st, 2005

Harkin Amendment Would Require FTC to Study Food Advertising to Children

By Gary Ruskin
Commercial Alert

Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science approved an amendment by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin to require the federal Trade Commission to produce a report on food advertising to chidren by July 1, 2006.

Our Members of Congress should do much more than just require the FTC to study food marketing to children. For example, they should ban the marketing of junk food in public schools, and eliminate all federal tax subsidies for marketing to children under 12 years of age.

Nevertheless, the Harkin amendment is a step forward in reducing the incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. Kudos to Senator Harkin for winning the amendment.

The amendment says: “Childhood Obesity.-The Committee is concerned about the growing rate of childhood and adolescent obesity and the food industry’s marketing practices for these populations. The Committee directs the FTC to submit a report to the Committee by July 1, 2006, on marketing activities and expenditures of the food industry targeted toward children and adolescents. The report should include an analysis of commercial advertising time on television, radio, and in print media; in-store marketing; direct payments for preferential shelf placement; events; promotions on packaging; all Internet activities; and product placement in television shows, movies, and video games.”

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