FTC Wants to 'Move On' From Restricting Food Ads Geared to Children

The initiative by the federal government to hold back marketing of specific foods to kids has lost momentum.

May 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz conceded while testifying before Congress recently that "it??s probably time to move on" from trying to limit food marketing to children, Advertising Age reports. The food industry has been critical of such efforts, labeling them draconian.

Leibowitz clarified those remarks in last week??s letter in the Wall Street Journal, writing that "the commission does not support legislation restricting food advertising to children." He has long not favored such a stance.

"I have never called for ?" or even 'hinted?? support for ?" congressional action on food advertising to children, nor have my bipartisan colleagues," his letter read. The Interagency Working Group??s aim was crafting "voluntary guidelines."

The food industry had concerns that the "voluntary" rules would become "backdoor regulation." Marketers applauded Leibowitz??s clarification. "Chairman Leibowitz had made some similar statements ... but we think this is the most definitive and public statement that we are aware that he has made," said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of government relations for the Association of National Advertisers.

The Interagency Working Group is comprised of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and the FTC.