October 11th, 2011

FTC: Food Marketing Guidelines Should Not Be Extended to Cover Kids 12-17: FTC

By John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable

The Federal Trade Commission is revising working group recommendations on food marketing to narrow the guidelines to kids 11 and younger, rather than applying them to teens—except in cases of in-school marketing.

It has also reexamined the approach to criteria for assessing whether marketing is targeting kids to make sure it is not overinclusive (or underinclusive), and says the result will be pretty much what food marketing self-regs already call for so that they cover “all the most important aspects of children’s marketing without being unduly restrictive.”

That is according to testimony from David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, for an Oct. 12 hearing on the working group guidelines, which the FTC has signaled will be revised in light of the thousands of comments it got, including complaints from industry that extending the age to 17-year-olds was definitely not the way to go.

“[W]e cannot ask more of food marketers than they can reasonably deliver if we expect their continued cooperation in this effort,” he says.

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