CCFC Statement on Major Food Company Marketing Pledges; Latest Indication Self-Regulation has Failed

Date of Release: 

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2007
Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>
For Immediate Releasw

CCFC Statement on Major Food Company Marketing Pledges;
Latest Indication Self-Regulation has Failed

BOSTON - The food industry’s current attempt to stave off regulation is a tribute to the hard work of advocacy groups, parents, and a handful of brave politicians who are fed up with the barrage of junk food marketing aimed at children.  The changes announced to day result directly from threats of legislation and litigation.  CCFC will continue to work with legislators, parents and advocates for government regulation of food marketing to children.

CCFC is pleased that the food industry is finally acknowledging the links between food marketing and the childhood obesity epidemic and that their most unhealthy products should not be marketed to children. That many are restricting the use of licensed characters to promote junk food will provide some relief to parents and children caught in a maelstrom of corporate marketing.  However, while the pledges are great PR for food companies, taken has a whole they are unworkable and unenforceable and are yet another indication that self-regulation has failed.

Some of our concerns include: 

  • Each company has created different nutrition standards tailored specifically to their products. 

  • Each company has adopted different marketing standards as well.

  • Because each company’s standards are different it is going to be extremely difficult to track adherence. 

  • There is no mechanism for enforcement

  • Companies such as Coca-Cola will continue to reach millions of children ages 2 to 11 on programs such as American Idol.

  • Because these policies are voluntary the companies can tweak them or drop them all together with no consequences if corporate profits are significantly compromised.

  • While some companies will not be marketing in elementary schools, some, like McDonald’s will continue to insinuate their brands in classrooms under the guise of promoting healthy life styles.

We need a uniform set of enforceable standards that prohibit marketing unhealthy food to children.  It is clearer than ever that the food industry is unwilling or unable to industry of adopting such standards.  It’s the role of government, not corporations bound by law to maximize profits, to safeguard public health.