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Feds Consider "Junk Food" Ad Ban With Backing of Nanny State Activists

If you are afraid of clowns, perhaps you have more to fear from the food-police than Ronald McDonald. Source: olis.ri.govMy piece that was published today on, which was co-authored with NCPPR intern Michael Alan, examines the “voluntary guidelines” being considered by four federal agencies. These agencies want to regulate “junk food” advertising during childrens’ programs. Our piece focuses on the calls of one activist group, the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to ban such advertising altogether. It’s amazing that a group of doctors didn’t stop to consider the side effects of their prescription:

Like so many other nanny-state initiatives, activists fail to recognize the rule of unintended consequences. In a world where parents, not the government, are primarily responsible for children, ads for even the fattiest, saltiest, sugary, and nutritionally devoid foods can play a role in a child’s development. When a kid in the cross-hairs of marketers just “must have” that naughty food, parents have a unique opportunity to teach moderation, self-discipline, and how to distinguish marketing from information or education.

The ban being considered could have disastrous unintended consequences for public health, but it still might become a reality:

Advertisements for junk food meant to appeal to children are already banned in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Quebec. And while the chances of a ban on the advertising of all foods not meeting the AAP’s arbitrary nutritional guidelines during “programming viewed predominately by young children” actually being implemented in the United States any time soon are slim, the AAP’s call comes amidst a string of recent actions against fast food industry marketing efforts, including “Happy Meal” toy bans in California’s Santa Clara and San Francisco counties late last year … The guidelines being considered by the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Agriculture are so far-reaching that industry officials are examining the constitutional arguments against their implementation and touting an economic analysis that shows the guidelines killing 75,000 jobs annually.

You can read the whole article at I encourage readers to share their thoughts about the proposed regulations by submitting their comments here. The comment period closes tomorrow, Thursday, July 14th.

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