Food Navigator USA reported on the status of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), which supposedly aims to reduce the amount of unhealthy foods directly marketed to children. CFBAI is made up of 17 food-industry giants, including Burger King, McDonalds, Mars, Kraft, General Mills, PepsiCo and Coca Cola. (Can you spot the first problem?)
Further, the criteria that the voluntary initiative uses to determine what advertising should be directed to children under 12 is that the foods meet the government’s standards for what is “healthy” or the American Heart Association’s HeartCheck Program. (And here we have problem number two.)
So, let’s see how they’re doing?
To quote the Navigator article, “[The CFBAI's] latest report found that… nearly half (48 percent) of cereals from companies taking part in the program contain more than ten grams of sugar per serving. Remember, these are just the ones that the program allows to be advertised directly to young children.”
Take a look at the full list of products approved for direct-to-kid advertising under the program, including: multiple cookies and desserts, such as Sponge Bob Banana Splits Shots popsicles; sugary, extruded cereals such as Fruity Pebbles, Marshmallow Pebbles, Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch; McDonalds and Burger King hamburgers; Kool Aid; Yoplait Trix Yogurt; and Kid Cuisine meals.
And the government wonders why I don’t want them deciding for me what is “healthy.” Hm.
(Note: Cadbury Adams, Hershey, Coca Cola and Mars have supposedly volunteered to halt all advertising primarily directed to children under the age of 12. If I sound skeptical it’s because I am, but we should give credit where credit is due.)
More About Big-Ag Control
Yahoo! News reported that Alton Terry, a former contract farmer under Tyson’s, lost his plea to have his case heard by the Supreme Court. Terry argued that his contract was terminated by Tyson’s because he organized area farmers and complained – directly to Tyson’s – about the company’s practices.
To quote the article, “Terry says Tyson and other big companies have too much sway over farmers, and federal courts also have bowed to agribusiness interests by setting too high a standard for the farmers to succeed in court.”
Now, if this is the first you’re hearing of stories like this, this might sound incredulous to you. But if you look into Tyson’s and their reputations for animal care, relationships with farmers and their use and treatment of illegal immigrants – and the back-room government deals that allow all of this – you will be appalled. (If you haven’t, you must see Food, Inc.)
Oh, and by the way, what brought the confrontation between Terry and Tyson’s to a head? Terry was denied three times being able to watch his birds get weighed by Tyson’s (which, of course, determines how much he gets paid). Sounds sketchy to me.
In the beginnings of the case (Terry v. Tyson Farms, 10-542), the Bush Administration sided with Terry. The USDA under President Obama has proposed rules that would limit the control chicken companies have over their contract farmers and ease the way for farmers filing suit under the 90-year-old Packers and Stockyards Act. These proposed changes would make it clear that farmers don’t need to prove industry-wide anti-competitive behavior to sue under the act – a central issue in Terry’s dismissal. (Tyson’s is opposed to the changes.)
Keep a skeptical eye on these regulations. For far too long we have allowed industry giants to control our food supply, AND our government.
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