Earlier this month, Elaine D. Kolish, Vice President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and Director of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), told Congress that self-regulation is working when it comes to advertising aimed at children. She was asked to testify at a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and the Subcommittee on Health. She told the members of the subcommittees that the food and beverage industry has done a good job regulating itself when it comes to advertising aimed at children, and is continuing to formulate changes that make “voluntary government restrictions” unnecessary.
“CFBAI is changing the landscape of child-directed food advertising in observable and meaningful ways,” says Kolish. “Our participants are committed to combating childhood obesity by restricting their child-directed advertising to healthier foods…or not engaging in such advertising at all. CFBAI’s new category-specific uniform nutrition criteria will further improve the foods in child-directed advertising and make self regulation work even better.”
Kolish told the subcommittees that the proposal by the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) is not realistic or workable, because it also includes advertising to parents and families. Moreover, suggested nutritional criteria in the IWG proposal underestimate technological and consumer acceptance barriers to changing popular products and developing new ones. Kolish’s testimony was well received, and the IWG announced that it intends to take CFBAI’s new criteria into account in its report to Congress.