Thursday, July 21, 2005

Government Abandons Children to Big Food

Corporate cronyism in the Bush era. FTC holds workshop on marketing junk foods in the schools then stacks it with corporate propagandists.

Government Abandons Children to Big Food: "The food industry works hard to keep the focus on self-regulatory mechanisms such as the Children's Advertising Review Unit, the industry-supported 5-person shop that cannot possibly monitor all the ways that children are bombarded with food marketing these days. Yet, Elizabeth Lascoutx, director of CARU, presented her organization as doing a stellar job of monitoring food ads, making several misleading statements in the process (which seems ironic for the head of an organization charged with monitoring deceptive advertising). For example, she said that McDonald's had agreed to alter an ad campaign to show healthier choices in their children's ads, when in fact, the company disagreed with CARU's determination that the commercials were misleading.

Coca-Cola also took the opportunity to misrepresent itself. Abigail Rodgers, vice president of 'Wellness Strategies and Communication' claimed that the company does not sell soda in elementary schools. Trouble is, a survey of Kentucky schools revealed that soda is sold in 44 percent of elementary schools.
And Coca-Cola was a powerful lobbying force against four legislative attempts to pass a state bill to get soda out of schools. But Ms. Rodgers forgot to mention that, along with the other state bills Coca-Cola has helped kill or weaken, including those in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, and Oregon.

There was precious little opportunity for advocacy representation or public participation. Only a handful of panel slots were allotted to public health or children's advocates. Even then, their voices were drowned out by the likes of PepsiCo and Kraft, who were each given two separate opportunities to speak, an honor not bestowed on anyone else. Moreover, questions from the audience were tightly controlled by government officials, pre-screened by moderators. Only in response to pressure from advocates did the FTC alter the agenda at the last minute to include a brief 'open forum' at the very end of the day, after all the reporters and most attendees had already left. Clearly Uncle Sam was not interested in hearing from the public on this matter."

These people also falsely, appeal to the idea that their is something even remotely traditional about selling candybars and chips pop at school. Vending machines weren't there when I was a kid. Why assume children are educated about food nutrition? I would have had a candy bar every day if my parents or the schools would let me.

No comments: