Photo: Paul Sakuma / AP Photo
Is the federal government about to put Tony the Tiger out of a job?
In the face of a national epidemic of childhood obesity, a collection of federal agencies has been working for two years now to come up with a set of voluntary guidelines that would restrict what foods can be marketed to kids. Food companies and marketing groups rejected a set of proposed guidelines last year, and the government has repeatedly postponed releasing new ones.
But as the Associated Press reports, the feds may finally pull the trigger as soon as today. Apparently, the AP reporter got a sneak peek at the new guidelines and writes that "companies would be urged to only market foods to children ages 2 through 17 if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and contain specified healthy ingredients."
The story goes on to say that the new guidelines are stricter than the standards companies have set for themselves in terms of targeting kids. (Not a surprise since a company like Kellogg's, for example, still doesn't see anything wrong with hawking Frosted Flakes to tots, as an article in the New York Times pointed out last year.)
The guidelines will reportedly cover not only traditional forms of advertising (e.g., commercials during Saturday morning cartoons), but the burgeoning market of online advertising as well.
There's probably more to say here, but darn it, in the middle of writing this we popped over to the Lucky Charms website (which gets, like, a quarter million hits a month), and we got so distracted trying to navigate Lucky the Leprechaun through the Chocolate Mines that we ran out of time.
Luckily, there's a tiny banner at the bottom to remind us: "Hey kids, this is advertising!"