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Food Industry Sets Standards for Advertising to Kids
Date:7/14/2011

, whole grains and some products to be supplemented with calcium and vitamin D, Kolish said.

Eric Decker, chairman of the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, was asked by Kolish to review the new standards. Speaking at the news conference, he said, "These guidelines are a tremendous step forward, because they provide a balance for the nutritional significance of the food and yet allow inclusions of foods that are going to taste good and be affordable."

In April, the U.S. government issued guidelines it said it hopes the food industry will adopt for lower amounts of sugar, salt and fats in foods advertised to children. Those guidelines are lower than the new industry guidelines.

Kolish said she hopes the government will modify its guidelines, which she called unrealistic and unattainable.

"We share the same goals as these government agencies. We all want healthier kids," she said. "But we think the government's proposal is unworkable and unrealistic."

For instance, Kolish said, to reduce salt levels by more than half "one would have to overcome vast technical issues, and then you would have to have a product consumers would actually eat."

Obesity expert Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said "the food industry is acknowledging that advertising foods of questionable nutritional value to children in an age of epidemic childhood obesity and diabetes is wrong. That is certainly a good thing."

But, there's an inescapable conflict of interest when the companies that profit from selling foods decide how to limit their own marketing, Katz said. "No one with a modicum of real-world common sense is surprised that the home-grown standards of food companies are less restrictive than the government standards the same companies rejected," he noted.

"The right approach, which the industry does not even seem to be considering, would be to lin
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