GMA Blasts IWG Proposed Marketing Guidelines
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has expressed its opposition to the Intergovernmental Working Group’s (IWG) Proposed Marketing Guidelines, which were the subject of a recent U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
“The IWG’s proposed nutrition standards are in direct conflict with established government food policy standards such as the USDA dietary guidelines and the school lunch program,” the Washington-based trade organization noted. “They would effectively ban the advertising of 88 of the most 100 most popular foods consumed in America, including healthy foods such as cereals, soups and breads.”
GMA continued: “In addition, an IWG ban on the advertising of foods and beverages could have a devastating impact on jobs. According to an independently conducted study by IHS Global Insight, the IWG’s proposals could cost 74,000 critical jobs across the food manufacturing and advertising industries, at a time when our economy can least afford it.
“Ultimately, the proposal is anything but voluntary and will have little or no impact on obesity and public health,” the group concluded. “Rather than tweak, adjust or modify its proposal, the IWG should withdraw the proposal and embark on a comprehensive effort to study the impact of marketing on childhood obesity and the costs and benefits of any and all proposed marketing guidelines.”
The association pointed to the food and beverage industry’s own efforts to reduce obesity and promote healthy diets, including working with First Lady Michelle Obama on her “Let’s Move!” program and implementing “robust, voluntary changes to child-directed marketing” through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI).
“In July, the CFBAI announced a groundbreaking agreement to update and strengthen the CFBAI initiative with the adoption of uniform nutrition criteria for foods advertised to children, so that 100 percent of all foods marketed to children feature healthy product choices,” added GMA. “These changes are part of our industry’s constant effort to review our products and programs in an effort to keep pace with constantly changing consumer trends and nutrition science.”