The Federal Communications Commission has added junk food marketing critic Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Benton Foundation (an FCC watchdog), and several academic groups to a list of mostly industry advocates on an FCC task force slated to consider limits on marketing food and beverage products to children. Sen.
Studies of the health benefits of beverages are four to eight times more likely to support the studied drink if industry fully paid for the research than if it didn't, according to a newly-published article in the science journal PLoS Medicine. The study reviewed 206 journal articles that drew conclusions about the health effects of a beverage. About half of those revealed their funding sources.
The new Congress is likely to put new and stronger emphasis on limiting junk food marketing, say aides to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Harkin becomes chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in 2007. His aides report that food marketing to children "will be one of our top tier agenda items." In recent years, Harkin futilely has sought to push through legislation toughening Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate junk food marketing.
Bucking intense restaurant industry opposition, New York City has banned all added trans fats in restaurant food. The ban was passed by the city's Board of Health on December 6, 2006, and takes effect in July 2007. Donut makers get a one-year reprieve in order to find a substitute oil for the deep-fried dough. The board's action also included a requirement that restaurant chains post nutritional information.
"This was spin, and [the food industry] will have to get beyond that and make real changes or they'll get beat up again very soon." Perhaps a line from a nutritionist slamming the Better Business Bureaus' weak new voluntary restrictions on junk food marketing to kids? Instead, it's the president of MGP & Associates Public Relations, Mike Paul.
Public health charities are under intense pressure from potential or ongoing commercial sponsors to boost their budgets with product promotion schemes. For example, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) currently has a $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury Schweppes, maker of Dr. Pepper and the Cadbury Creme egg.
When PR Watch most recently caught a cell phone signal from Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and the new Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food, Schlosser was rushing from car to car in New York City, after London, which was just after Berkeley, where he was giving students a preview of the indie film version of "Fas