Thanks to proposed new “voluntary guidelines” on what food companies can market to children proposed by a government interagency working group comprised of four federal agencies, Americans could see the economy lose another 74,000 jobs. At a time when the country’s unemployment rate is 9.2% with more than 14 million people out of work, the “voluntary guidelines” of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) Proposal on Food Marketed to Children which are in fact tantamount to mandatory regulations sans judicial review, are job-killers and are not welcome news.
There is no scientific evidence that proves that food ads targeted to kids are the cause of our nation’s escalating childhood obesity problem. Nevertheless, Congress commissioned the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control to “conduct a study and develop recommendations for standards for the marketing of food” to children under 17. In a blatant example of government overreach, the IWG issued “voluntary guidelines” for the food and beverage industry to follow “voluntarily” when marketing products to kids. If certain products manufactured by food companies don’t meet these guidelines, the government would strongly urge companies (code for prohibit) to stop advertising these products to kids through television, the internet, packaging, movies, in –store displays and even schools.
Innovative Healthcare Solutions assessed the potential economic impact of the proposed guidelines and concluded a 20% reduction in food and beverage advertising dollars would result in a “ripple effect in the manufacturing, retail and media industries” leading to the elimination of 74,000 jobs in 2011. It’s simple math. When food companies can’t advertise products like Kix, Cheerios, Chex and Wheaties cereal, and even some soups and yogurts, sales decline, revenue goes down and voila, companies are forced to cut jobs.
As Americans suffer through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, our nation’s government should not hobble the country’s recovery further with proposed guidelines based on intangible emotions rather than scientific facts.