Nanny State

How Did Toucan Sam Became a Scapebird for Childhood Obesity?

|

Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission proposed "voluntary principles for marketing food to children" that would require the drastic reformulation of many popular products. The guidelines do not have the force of law, but the threat of regulatory action always hangs in the background when the federal government suggests that businesses should change the way they operate. As Dan Jaffe, an executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, tells The New York Times, "There's clearly a demand hidden behind the velvet glove of the voluntary language."

The guidelines, produced in response to a congressional directive, specify minimum amounts for favored nutrients ("fruit, vegetable, whole grain, fat-free or low-fat milk products, fish, extra lean meat or poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, or beans") and maximum amounts for disfavored nutrients (sugar, salt, trans fat, and saturated fat) in food advertised to consumers who are 17 or younger. The sugar limit is 13 grams per serving, which is high enough to accommodate the current versions of Trix, Froot Loops, Cocoa Pebbles, Lucky Charms, and Frosted Flakes but not Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, or Franken Berry. All of these brands, and others like them, presumably would have to include a lot more whole grains (or fish bits?) than they currently do to pass muster.

The salt limits—140 milligrams per serving for the "reference amount customarily consumed" of "individual foods" and 300 milligrams per serving for "main dishes and meals"—are even more demanding. Pepperidge Farm's cheddar-flavored Goldfish crackers, for instance, have 250 milligrams of salt per serving (almost twice the limit for its category), while Chef Boyardee Beefaroni contains 959 (three times the limit). The salt requirements are especially hard to justify given the weakness of the scientific case for population-wide reductions in sodium consumption and the main justification for the guidelines, which is "reducing the nation's childhood obesity epidemic."

Speaking of which, the upward trend in obesity among children began in the 1980s. How is it that venerable food-hawking characters such as Tony the Tiger (introduced in 1958), Toucan Sam (introduced in 1963), and Ronald McDonald (ditto) are taking the blame for making kids fat? The New York Times puts it this way:

Will Toucan Sam

go the way of Joe Camel?…

Citing an epidemic of childhood obesity, regulators are taking aim at a range of tactics used to market foods high in sugar, fat or salt to children, including the use of cartoon characters like Toucan Sam, the brightly colored Froot Loops pitchman, who appears in television commercials and online games as well as on cereal boxes….

"Toucan Sam can sell healthy food or junk food," said Dale Kunkel, a communications professor at the University of Arizona who studies the marketing of children's food. "This forces Toucan Sam to be associated with healthier products."…

By explicitly tying advertising to childhood obesity, the government is suggesting there is a darker side to cuddly figures like Cap'n Crunch, the Keebler elves, Ronald McDonald and the movie and television characters used to promote food. It also raises the question of whether they might ultimately share the fate of Joe Camel, the cartoon figure used to promote Camel cigarettes that was phased out amid allegations that it was meant to entice children to smoke.

The case against Joe Camel was never as strong as people commonly supposed: Smoking among teenagers actually declined after he was introduced, although he does seem to have helped increase market share for R.J. Reynolds. The case against cartoony food mascots is even weaker, since they predate their supposed impact on children's eating habits by decades.

As the father of three girls and the parent who does all the grocery shopping in our family, I can testify that there is a lot of crap out there. You know why? Kids like crap, and their parents buy it for them. It has always been thus. But healthier food options are more plentiful and widely available today than ever before, because there is a demand for them as well. The government should allow that market-driven process to continue, instead of trying to strong-arm food companies into complying with arbitrary standards created by bureacrats who disapprove of the way other people raise their children.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

135 responses to “How Did Toucan Sam Became a Scapebird for Childhood Obesity?

  1. “Citing an epidemic of childhood obesity”

    [citation needed]

    1. Really. I think childhood obesity is just as much a crock of shit as AGW.

      1. It’s called Lipid Change now, Gobbler.

      2. Even if it isn’t, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation with the availability of sugary breakfast cereal.

        In that way it is very similar to the supposed warming/CO2 connection.

        1. ZOMG. Global Warming is caused by the flatulence of fat children!

          Everyone! EAT YOUR YOUNG!

      3. Shouldn’t you be discussing the fact that obamas birth certificate was probably photoshopped too?
        AGW, the effects of sugar on a diet, and obama are all just pretend!

    2. As a father of a 14 yr old girl, at every school event, church event, class trip I chaperone, science fair, high school event, etc., I scour the area for evidence of this alleged obesity epidemic. I have yet to see it.

  2. If the market solves everything how does this idiotic rag stay afloat? Oh, donations, of course.

    1. Re: Max,

      If the market solves everything how does this idiotic rag stay afloat? Oh, donations, of course.

      The market solves scarcity problems, imbecile.

      1. Hasn’t done much for your lack of brains has it, moron?

        1. ^ What the hell is this guy’s deal? Seriously?

        2. If you don’t like what this idiotic rag has created, why do you frequent it? You do realize you’re enabling it to raise its advertising rates, right?

          I have no moral imperative forbidding support to a product benefiting me, which Reason does.

        3. Re: Max,

          Hasn’t done much for your lack of brains has it, moron?

          Oooohh, nice comeback there, pet yorkie!

      2. Donations are a part of the market, you imbeciles.

        1. Re: Scott Ross,

          Donations are a part of the market, you imbeciles.

          Hey, pssst! Clueless! Yes, you Scott! It was Max who drew that inference. ONLY Max. Not plural – singular.

          1. Wait, who’s in bicycles?

          2. Max is one person?

    2. If the market solves everything how does this idiotic rag stay afloat?

      Max made a good point. The market hasn’t solved Max.

  3. The government should allow that market-driven process to continue, instead of trying to strong-arm food companies into complying with arbitrary standards created by bureacrats who disapprove of the way other people raise their children.

    “But, why? Now we will both die!” cried the frog.

    “Because that is what I do,” replied the scorpion, as both he and the frog were slowly sinking into the pond. -Aesop.

    That is what they do, Jacob.

    1. The Scorpion and the Frog isn’t one of Aesop’s fables, although variants of it are.

  4. Childhood obesity couldn’t have anything to do with farm subsidies making less healthy foods cheaper than healthier unsubsidized alternatives. Ever notice how it’s usually the really poor kids who are the really fat ones?

    1. No, I haven’t noticed that at all.

    2. I live in the city and I just think there is a correlation between fat black kids and the fact that a great many of them get half of their genes from obese white women.

      (no racism)

      1. Incredibly wrong in more than one way, but also incredibly funny

        1. How so? If skinny Kat Williams has a kid with Rosie O’Donnell, odds are it will be fat. My neighborhood is full of slender black men, fat white women and fat kids.

          1. Haha, it wont be fat because of genetics (although genetics do play a minor role) It will more than likely be fat because it will continue the unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle that the mother had to get her that fat in the first place.

            Simple math. If you burn more calories than you consume you won’t get fat.

    3. People around the world dream of coming to the United States because it is the place where poor people are fat.

      That’s what happens when you tax productivity and subsidize sloth.

      1. You know that your civilization has peeked when one of its most pressing problems is too many calories.

    4. Right, because eggs, fruit, and vegetables don’t come from farms.

      1. I dunno about that, man. I live in Iowa, and all around me are Crunchberry plantations and Nutty Bar confinment lots.

      2. Oh and here I always thought it was called the corn belt because it grew lots of corn, not because it provided a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables suitable for its climate.

        1. The subsidies tend to go to commodities. Ever notice how many of your fruits and veggies are imported?

          1. Yeah, but I always blamed Clinton for that NAFTA crap.

      3. Most of the farm subsidies go to agri-giants who grow wheat (refined flour), corn (HFCS), and soy (hydrogenated soybean oil).

      4. Wait, eggs are good again?

        1. They always have been good for you.

          1. If they had fiber and vitamin C, they’d be all we need!

            1. sounds like its about time we crossbred chicken with oranges.

              1. Haven’t you ever seen an Orange Boehner?

      5. Right, because eggs, fruit, and vegetables don’t come from farms.

        They come from Safeway!

  5. Most likely it has to do with increased caloric intake as food in general has become relatively cheaper and lower physical activity levels.

    I know my son didn’t trim down until he started running Cross-country in middle school and while I think he ate less than I did as a child, I spent far more time outdoors with friends and peers in those pre-middle school years.

    1. The question remains why people eat more than they expend. And why it is so much a disease of the poor, who are less able to afford it. Not just here, but all over the world.
      Even in populations which are experiencing shortages, you find obese mothers with malnourished children. Are these mothers really choosing to overeat at the expense of their own children?

      1. The real question is not why people eat more than they burn, but how/why their energy-in comes anywhere close to their energy-out figure. When you consider our enormous energy thruput, it’s clear there’s some mechanism regulating this. We know pretty well how thirst is regulated, and hardly any about how appetite is.

  6. Obama:
    “Where’d all the Stimulus go…?”

    Christie ‘Critical Mass’ Romer:
    “Burp.”

    Obama:
    “Alright that’s the last time…you’re fired!”

  7. Instead of wasting your time bitching about it here, send your official comments to the FTC here:

    V. Instructions for Submitting Comments

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments electronically or in paper
    form. All comments must be received no later than June 13, 2011. As noted above, the Working Group will share responsibility for review of comments among the member agencies, based on each agency’s expertise and authority. All comments should be submitted to the FTC, which will coordinate the review by the Working Group agencies. The Working Group therefore requests that, to the extent possible, comments on the nutrition principles (Questions 1 through 17) be submitted as a separate document from comments on issues relating to marketing definitions and the general feasibility and impact of the proposal (Questions 18 through 30). To facilitate the organization and allocation of comments for review among the Working Group agencies, comments relating to the proposed nutrition principles, including comments on the food categories identified in the principles, should refer to “Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Proposed Nutrition Principles: FTC Project No. P094513.” All other comments related to proposed marketing definitions or general aspects of the proposal should refer to “Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: General Comments and Proposed Marketing Definitions: FTC Project No. P094513.” Please note that your comment ? including your name and your state ? will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including on the publicly accessible FTC
    Website, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm.

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/2011/04/…..dguide.pdf

    1. Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to heightened
      security screening, please consider submitting your comment in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be submitted by using the following weblink: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/foodmarketedtochildreniwg
      (and following the instructions on the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at the https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/foodmarketedtochildreniwg weblink.

    2. Dear FTC:

      DIAF

      kthxbai

      CC: FCC

  8. credit boom = people can afford to buy more food so they may eat more.

    It’s an economic problem, not a health problem. And it’s taking care of itself.

    1. True enough.

      Once the socialists succeed in destroying this country’s accumulated wealth along with its wealth generation machine, poor people will once again be hungry instead of fat.

      It’s for the children.

    2. What you’re saying is, there’s an obesity bubble?

      1. What you’re saying is, there’s an obesity bubble?

        Or else I’m saying there’s a credit epidemic.

  9. “Speaking of which, the upward trend in obesity among children began in the 1980s.”

    Maybe my memory is wrong, but isn’t that about the time that Atari and Intellivision spawned the birth of home video games?

    Perhaps it’s not so much that little (big? fat?) Johnny is eating too much junk food, but that kids won’t actually get off their widening asses and play the games in the fresh air.

    It’s called BURNING CALORIES!!!

    1. wrong. Gary Taubes debunks this myth ad nauseum.

    2. Televisions and arcades existed before the 1980s.

      1. You at least burn a few calories standing at an arcade machine.

      2. You had to walk to them. And as a young lad in the 80s, your ability to acquire quarters created an economic limit to how long you could spend in the arcade.

        1. And odds are you earned those quarters with a push mower.

          1. For the most part, yeah. My parents gave me some of my money to supplement when I was in my early teenage years. But yeah, lot of lawn mowin’ goin’ on in my world.

          2. I had to walk six miles to the arcade. And I also had to walk home 6 miles. Uphill both ways, too.

    3. globo gyms and jogging as a past-time have also taken off since then.

      1. We are talking about kids. How many kids have taken up jogging and globo gyms?

        If it’s true that caloric intake versus calories burned is a factor, then replacing outside activities, running around and such with sitting in front of a tv or video game would have an affect.

        The cause is probably a mix of a few things, most already discussed. Just changing the ingredient might not make a big difference.

        1. You’re right, that’s more a comment regarding adult obesity, but the same fallacious argument is used for big and small: we eat too much and exercise too little.
          I’ve seen plenty of muffin-topped 6 yr olds running around the playground w/ my son. Of course they’re usually carrying a bag of doritoes w/ them, but my point (which is backed up by Taubes’s exhaustive treatment of the subject) is with the proper diet, a kid can have a very sedentary lifestyle yet not be a pre-adolescent fat-ass. Taubes turns this whole calories in/calories out thing on it’s head before demolishing it.
          I’m only a sample size of one, but my family’s removed grains and dairy, which according to our beloved USDA should amount to child abuse, yet my son is thriving (taller than his peers, is rarely sick (can’t say the same thing about his pre-school peers), and doesn’t have a hint of excess fat), my wife lost her muffin top/pooch, and I, pushing 40, am actually concerned that I’m shedding too much weight. And we all eat like a pack of wolves, so it ain’t calorie restriction. It also isn’t an abundance of exercise either. All I got to say is the shit works.

          1. Would that proper diet be one of less calories?

            1. Like I said, we eat a ton of food. 3 of us polished off a quarter beef in a couple months. Also, I’ve swapped carbs (4 calories/gm) with plenty of fat (9 calories/gm) so again, I doubt it.
              Even if it were so, who cares? I’m not hungry. I eat to satiety and don’t feel deprived.
              Eat all you want and still lose weight; it’s the stuff of infomercials. Except I ain’t paying anybody for it.

              1. What’s a “quarter beef”? Is that 1/4 of the body of a steer or moo cow?

                I once tried Atkins induction —

                1. And I should’ve used an escape for the “less than” sign! <10 g CHO, all else ad lib. Caused me to gain weight rapidly along with constipation, the opposite of my usual problem. I’ve learned since I’m not the only one with that experience.

                  When you write “removed…dairy”, does that mean no eggs, or only no milk products?

                  1. No milk/milk products. Eggs just happen to be in the dairy section of the store. Butter is a little bit of an exception though since it’s handy to cook w/ and doesn’t always have some of the same problems as the rest of milk does. plus we get some good pastured/grass-fed butter from trader hoes.
                    We might experiment w/ some raw milk in the future since most of the problems (in our opinion) come from grain feeding and homogenization and pastuerization.

          2. I’m trying to imagine a person with a muffin top — let alone a pooch! Are these common expressions? Describing what part or parts of the body?

            “Muffin top” to me suggests a fat head. “Pooch” — a fat head that says “bow-wow”?

            1. Pooch = FUPA (fat upper pussy area).
              The muffin top is the spillage of the love handles over the top of the usually too tight shorts/jeans.

              1. I didn’t even know the upper pussy area could get fat! Do you think the majority of a woman’s body to constitute “pussy”? It’d make sense then. Huh…a dog metaphor to go with a cat metaphor.

    4. I was thin until I hit 50. The Internet made me fat. Can I sue Al Gore?

    5. There may be something to this. Children and adults like challenges of skill. It seems we’ve been developing ways to challenge and develop our game and other skills faster using small muscles than big ones. In the future we may bypass the muscles entirely.

      I coach children in football. I find it much more interesting working on ways to move their bodies around than moving my own.

  10. As the father of three girls

    I speak from experience as one of 3 sisters that this is an awesome family arrangement. Jacob, I hope you enjoy (well, tolerate) your girls’ Barbie World as much as my father did.

    1. I thought you had just one sibling, Dagny. A spineless brother named James.

  11. Mmm, childhood obesity started to take off in the 80s. and the low-fat, high carb trend started in the… oh yeah, the 80s.
    Naturally I’d prefer it if the gubmint stayed out of the grocery store and my kitchen, but if they’re going to do it at all, I really wish they’d get their good foods/bad foods ID’d correctly. Ditch the harmful whole grains and milk (esp low-fat) and vindicate fat (esp saturated)

      1. Concur completely. Although too much focus on fructose (or fiber) alone can miss the big picture. A diet based upon carbs (and too little protein and fat) drives obesity. You can pull the fructose, add metamucil and still have a obesity-prone diet.

        1. A diet based on complex carbs with little substance yes, but if all your carbs are coming from fruits and whole proper amounts of whole grains you’ll be fine. When was the last time you saw a fat person who’s only vice was eating fruit?

          A good healthy diet consists of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats!

          1. “”When was the last time you saw a fat person who’s only vice was eating fruit?””

            Fruit is low cal. If you eat low cal, you probably won’t be fat.

            1. That was kind of my point. But it’s not that it’s just low calorie, it’s that it is low in empty calories, and full of fun things like fiber that require even more calories to break it down!
              Unlike empty calories in chips, french fries, and processed foods (although i love them so much)

          2. If by “fine” you mean survive, then yes. Thrive? Then no. There’s a reason hunter/gatherer groups are taller/healthier than genetically comparable agricultural groups.
            Also, grains are about as healthy for us as they are for cows. Hint: cows need antibiotics to eat them and it screws up their fat profile. Gluten is just one anti-nutrient example of the problems w/ all grains.
            Protein/fat should be the foundation of a good diet along w/ veggies and some fruit. This takes care of the insulin issues, fiber deficiencies, gut health, 100+% of all the RDA of all the required vitamins save Vit D.
            We’re not designed to have carbs be the foundation of our diet.

            1. The issue with cows isn’t that they eat grains, so much as that their diet consists of so much corn. Yet i agree that carbs should in no way be a cornerstone of the diet – and you don’t need those outside of the ones that come from fruit

      2. I think sugar/HFCS is about the worst, since it is half glucose and half fructose. It simultaneously elevates insulin levels (through the glucose in the bloodstream) and overloads the liver with fructose (which turns to fat in the liver and leads to insulin resistance).

  12. “There’s clearly a demand hidden behind the velvet glove of the voluntary language.”

    He’s worried for nothing, if the government meant business it would be a rubber glove

  13. (no racism)

    Sure.

    Childhood obesity rates, over the course of the years between age 2 and age 19, diverge more strongly by race than by any other factor (including poverty, however defined).

    “Non-Hispanic whites” go from about 20% to about 25% (as anti-obesity types measure it); “Non-Hispanic blacks” and “Mexican Americans” go from the same approximately 20% to 45%.

    The whole anti-obesity thing is a sublimated race-hate campaign. It’s about how people who aren’t white are gross. That’s why the ewwwww-fatties crowd blurts “white trash!” all the time?and probably why you want to blame fat white women for their fat half-black kids, when you have to know that’s stupid, being all up in the city and shit.

    Freud lives.

    1. I think you have a point. There is a rush to associate fat whites with “white trash,” as though fat & gross were just a natural state of being for non-whites. By making the fat whites “trash” puts them almost as low as non-whites, which means you can now paternalize the shit out of them as they’re clearly not capable of raising their kids themselves.

      Sometimes on this board there’s a tendency to dismiss cries of racism (often justifiably so), but when it’s there, I appreciate someone calling it out.

      1. By making the fat whites “trash” puts them almost as low as non-whites

        Yeah, almost but not quite!

      2. Nowhere in my post will you fid the word trash.

        Project much?

    2. A lot of it is related to cultural dietary norms.

  14. You never see a fat North Korean…

    1. Yeah, but you don’t see ANY North Koreans. Ever.

      1. There have been sightings, I’ve seen the blurry photos and casts of footprints.

        1. pics or it didn’t happen!

        2. STEVE SMITH TAKE MANY GRAINY SELF PORTRAITS FOR RAPEBOOK!! MOST PICS ARE IN THE BATHROOM WITH POUTY LIPS!! STEVE SMITH RAPE NORK ONCE, SPLIT HIM IN TWO!!

  15. when i want fruit loops, i want fruit loops. real fruit looops, not “slightly less unhealthy” fruit loops. i am fully aware of its nutritional value (because I can read). My normal diet and fitness routine keeps me very healthy and fit, and I can afford an occasional indulgence/craving. Not my fault that most Americans can’t control themselves as such. This is also why I oppose universal health care in its current form.

    1. Hi, Sam, I’m a huge fan of your product…
      *speaks into microphone*

      In your defense, they’re called “FROOT” Loops. They are not to be confused with real fruit. Even as a child, I understood this. I also knew that cartoon toucans were not real, nor were they my friend.

      I ate Froot Loops because they were delicious and I could prepare my own breakfast without parental supervision. I would have eaten them regardless of the cartoon character on the box because my parents ultimately made the purchasing decisions without my input.

      This is where the anti-obesity nannypants go off the rails.

    2. Are you the bird bastard that’s been spreading lies about my product? It does NOT scrape the roof of your mouth!

      1. Riiight, Cap’N. And I don’t give kiddies the horse farts.

  16. Fred Flintstone got his start hawking smokes and forty years on he’s working the fruity Pebbles scam. Plus ca …

    1. Be fair…he also hawked grape juice and grape ade. And claimed you could reconstitute the “juice” with 4/3 the original volume of water. Ah, back when corn syrup was touted as based on levulose….

  17. LOL, might as well make Ronald McDonald the spokesperson! Thats jsut too funny. And we wonder why America is so FAT.

    http://www.real-privacy.eu.tc

    1. I denounce your automated racism.

    2. do we wonder?
      I don’t think we do.

  18. My 2.5 yo daughter does not watch a lot of TV because I don’t let her do so. Ergo, she is not subject to a lot of advertising for food. When we go grocery shopping, I don’t go to aisles where cereals, chips, cookies, or candy are sold, so she can’t ask for what she doesn’t see. What’s so hard about excercising control and restraint?

    I know that one day I will not be able to restrict my kids’ food choices, but laying a good foundation might help mitigate future potential issues with weight/blood sugar/etc. concerns. It’s not rocket science, it’s parenting. Sometimes I think rocket science would be easier, even to my non-mathematically-inclined mind.

    1. When we go shopping, I make my five year old wear a backwards motorcycle helmet. It’s much easier to get in and out that way.

    2. My 4.5-year-old daughter DOES watch a decent amount of TV and DOES go down aisles where cereals, chips, cookies and/or candy are sold. Miraculously, by generally saying “no” when she asks for things she sees on TV or at the store, we’ve been able to teach her that people will try to sell you shit for your entire life but that doesn’t mean you need any of it.

      1. That’s admirable but I’m sticking with the helmet.

    3. I can say “no” all day long to my kids’ requests.

      Instructions for the FTC:

      1. “Daddy, can I have that?”
      2. “No.”
      3. Wipe brow.

    4. Why are you trying to be a responsible parent?

      Don’t you know that’s the government’s job?

    5. I think a good foundation consists of recognizing that those goods exist and that they can be acceptable on occasion rather than pretending they don’t exist.

      Once my kids learned that raisins and oranges usually got a “yes” and Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs usually got a “no” they got in the habit of choosing fruits for themselves and recognized Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs as a treat, not a way of life.

    6. My 2.5 yo daughter does not watch a lot of TV because I don’t let her do so. Ergo, she is not subject to a lot of advertising for food. When we go grocery shopping, I don’t go to aisles where cereals, chips, cookies, or candy are sold, so she can’t ask for what she doesn’t see.

      I go into any aisle I want in the grocery store with my nine-year-old in tow.

      Because I am unafraid of my daughters requests. And my daughter knows it.

  19. This is no laughing matter. Toucan Sam’s and Joe Camel’s corporate tentacles of evil reach far beyond our nation’s borders. Their collective menace must be stopped!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4c_wI6kQyE

  20. As a kid I actually prferred Rasin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oats, cereals that taste good and are actually healthy for you. Why can’t parents (who I presume control what they buy at the market) simply give their kids healthier cereal? That way, we wouldn’t need bureuacrats making arbitary health rules.

  21. Wow, I’m glad we live in a freedom loving country that wouldn’t buy into this bullshit.

    1. Don’t be an ineffectual crackpot. Tell it to the people who matter. Make your voice heard. Public opinion counts and it’s tallied and reported. Take a few minutes and tell them what you think. I did.

      https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/foodmarketedtochildreniwg

      1. Dear FTC,

        Fuck off.

        Hugs,

        JW

      2. Here’s mine.

        What you are doing by crafting guidelines for the marketing of children’s breakfast cereal is unethical for the following reasons.

        – You Are Eroding Personal Responsibility
        The FTC, by stepping into a role properly occupied by parents is eroding our culture of personal responsibility. You are saying to parents that you will take an active role in restricting or shaping the content that their children view. This sends a terrible message about the role of government, which is corrosive of personal responsibility. There are many dangers which adults face in the world regardless of the diligence of bureaucrats. The more we attempt to (metaphorically) put citizens into protective bubble wrap, the less likely said citizens will be able to deal with more serious issues. In short, you are encouraging dependence and discouraging independent thought.

        – You Are Engaging in Censorship
        Commercial advertising is not magical. It is communication, expression. We have blanket protection in our Constitution for free expression. Current jurisprudence holds that commercial speech is not protected, but you should hold yourselves to a higher standard of integrity by respecting the actual meaning of the Constitution. Free expression is not to be suppressed by government.

        – Using Tax Dollars to Fund Propaganda is Immoral
        Even if coercion is not used to force food marketers to change their advertising, my tax dollars support your endeavors. As such, I am paying to propagandize myself into eating healthfully. Every letter you send in my name to persuade, embarrass, harass or threaten the makers of cereals or candy is an immoral misappropriation of public funds. In my opinion, redirecting public funds to political causes should be a criminal offense.

  22. I never really thought about how to spell tuocan until this article.

    1. As is made evident by my spelling of “toucan”

  23. Citing an epidemic of childhood obesity…

    I once caught obesity from a toilet seat.

    1. Stop eating out of the toilet.

      1. But the cakes are so yummy.

  24. Our government’s Ministry of Art should make a suggestion that galleries, museums and book publishers voluntarily cease promoting the works of people like Banksy and Shep Fairey as to prevent children from being influenced to commit vandalism.

  25. Perhaps we could try the Stalin diet? Uncle Joe helped Ukraine lose weight.
    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com

  26. I think we’ll reduce the serving size by half.

  27. I can’t believe no one linked this yet:

    Green Jell? – Cereal Killer

    Toucan, Son of Sam!!

  28. They should try selling REASON BRAN: Food for thought.

  29. I don’t care what anyone one says, Ronald McDonald was, is, and is ALWAYS be one scary looking SOB. But then again, I think all clowns and mimes should be killed.

  30. *will ALWAYS

    Grrr.

  31. I challenge the Nanny Staters to show me one instance where Ronald McDonald and Joe Camel actually put a gun to people’s heads and forced them to eat their fatty food and smoke their dirty cigarrettes.

  32. Wasn’t it only about ten years ago that we were told that there was a horrible anorexia/bulimia epidemic among our young that was destroying teenage girls, caused by Corporate America using commercials to force-feed notions of thinness on them? And how Government needed to fight this crisis by encouraging self esteem and educating young girls that it was OK not to thin? What happened to that crisis, which allegedly killed tens of thousands of young women each year (Naomi Wolf said so, so it must be true!)

  33. Look up what “bulimia” means and you’ll see it’s really in the same vein. There is a behavior called “bulimia nervosa” which can cause weight loss, but just plain bulimia is extreme appetite.

  34. This is enraging. Customers are already moving towards a healthier diet, you just have to look at McDonald marketing apple slices to realize that. The FDA should let people decide for themselves what they want to eat.

    http://www.intellectualtakeout…..-treatment

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.