Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Policy Point Wednesday: Incomprehensible "Sensible" Food

An Interagency Working Group (IWG) made up of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proposed voluntary guidelines on marketing food and beverage products to children 2-17.  Readers of this blog will remember that this type of marketing is strictly regulated in Denmark, where the rate of obesity is three times less than in the US.

Despite the fact that this proposal has no regulatory power, the food industry created the Sensible Food Policy Coalition to lobby against it.  The coalition is headed by former White House communications director Anita Dunn, and represents a group of heavy-hitters in the food advertising lobby: General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Viacom, and Time Warner. This group claims that, assuming implementation of the voluntary guidelines "Over a four year period (2011-2015), the cumulative lost sales would be $152 billion, and the cumulative decline in jobs would be 378,000."

The coalition fails to address that obesity rates continue to climb, and with them, the rates of diabetes and high blood pressure.  "Unhealthy eating and inactivity contribute to 310,000 to 580,000 deaths each year - four to six times the number of people the SFPC suggests might lose their jobs.  In 2009, the CDC released a study suggesting that the annual cost of medical treatment for obesity is $147 billion annually.  You do the math.


Bettina at The Lunch Tray said...

WELL SAID! As you know, I've been covering this a lot on The Lunch Tray, too, and will have a follow-up post in the coming days. I'll be sure to link to this.

Michele Hays said...

Thanks, Bettina! Yes, the numbers really speak for themselves, don't they.

Anonymous said...

Their cry is for lost JOBS? BS! They're really worried more about cutting into their huge profit margins...

Post a Comment

Post a Comment