Marketing food to kids on House subcommittee agenda


It walks again – the Washington DC zombie issue of selling food that kids love to eat but which doesn’t get much love in return from nutritionists is back on Capitol Hill for another airing. The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade is taking up the issue in a 10/12/11 hearing.

The session is called “Food Marketing: Can “Voluntary” Government Restrictions Improve Children’s Health?” and it kicks off at 10AM on that Wednesday morning.

There will be two panels of witnesses:

Panel 1
* Dr. William Dietz, Director, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
* Dr. Robert Post, Deputy Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture
* David C. Vladeck, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

Panel 2
* Jim Baughman, Senior Marketing Counsel, Campbell Soup Company
* Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President, Association of National Advertisers

RBR-TVBR observation: It wasn’t all that long ago that a massive bipartisan group signed on to protect children from evil food advertising, and many of the largest stake-holding manufacturers and media companies signed on as well to do something positive about it. Yet here we go again.

It will continue to come up until such time as it is completely illegal to market any product that doesn’t earn a Grade AAA pedigree from the nutrition community, or until such time as the manufacture of such items is banned. We suspect neither is possible in a free society.

Almost everybody craves junk food at some time or another. Smart consumers follow the simple “all things in moderation” guideline and survive their junk food encounters with their health intact.

However, politicians can always earn a few points “protecting our children,” so issues like this are always popular. But the current crop of Republican House leaders may actually lean toward the free speech, let ‘em eat junk side.

We’ll see, and regardless, we can pretty much guarantee the issue will return again anyway.