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Food Ads Geared Toward Children: Gov't Waffling on "Voluntary" Guidelines

Is Uncle Sam trying to control what the kids eat these days? Well, maybe just their sugar intake. Earlier this year, the government proposed "voluntary guidelines" for food advertising. The proposed regulations asked companies to cut back on marketing to children between ages 2 and 17, unless they're selling healthy foods low in fat, sugar and sodium. Basically, the government wanted to tighten belts on food companies' self-regulating ways.

Food companies lobbied against the regulations, thinking the rules would be too large in scope and affect too many favorite food staples. During a Republican-backed hearing in Washington, D.C., officials backed off from some parts of their proposal, including making the focus on children ages 2 through 11.

According to the Associated Press, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said, "This appears to be a first step toward Uncle Sam planning our family meals."

Officials who spoke at the hearing told the representatives that the government is still in the process of fine-tuning their proposals. Food industry officials are asking for proof from the government as to how changes in advertising strategies will curb obesity and health problems at the national level. Republicans are siding with the food industry and trying to delay the final draft and implementation.

It's quite a fuss to make over regulations being deemed as "optional."


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