June 19, 2007 - MARKEY CALLS ON 5 MAJOR FOOD AND BEVERAGE MARKETERS TO PUT JUNK FOOD ADS ON A DIET

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, sent letters to The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s and PepsiCo. asking each to voluntarily implement the same restrictions on marketing to children recently announced by the Kellogg Company. Last week, Kellogg agreed to adopt nutrition standards for the foods it markets to children and to place limits on its use of licensed characters and product placements in marketing directed at children.
“While parents and families have an undeniable responsibility to steer their children toward healthy choices, the Institute of Medicine has linked the current unhealthy trend toward poor nutrition and childhood obesity in our country to the prevalence of television advertisements for fast food, junk food, sugared cereals, and other foods wholly lacking in nutritional value. If this trend continues, our children could be the first in generations to enjoy shorter life expectancies than their parents,” said Rep. Markey. “These companies are some of the world’s largest food and beverage marketers, and together they have the power to play a significant role in solving the childhood obesity problem through socially responsible advertising practices. I urge them to follow Kellogg’s lead.”

Rep. Markey asked each company to commit to at least the same standards as the Kellogg Company put in place last week and to outline additional steps that may be warranted to safeguard kids from junk food ads during children’s television programming, which have been found to negatively influence children’s dietary and nutritional choices. The five companies that received letters are some of the world’s largest food and beverage marketers and account for much of children’s food and beverage advertising expenditures in the United States.

This Friday, June 22nd, Rep. Markey will chair a hearing entitled “Images Kids See on the Screen,” to explore the link between TV advertising and childhood obesity, and whether regulatory or legislative solutions are needed to restrict food marketing on television to combat the serious public health issue of childhood obesity.

Click here for letters to:
The Coca-Cola Company
General Mills
Kraft Foods
McDonald’s
PepsiCo.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer
202.225.2836