Food Policy

Feds Don't Want Kids to Even See How Awesome Junk Food Is

Don't even show them pictures of soda!


Avert your eyes, citizen!
Credit: / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

In another example of your federal rulers thinking our poor habits are due to not knowing any better and being manipulated by the agricultural industrial complex and not, say, our own decisions, the feds are forcing public schools not just to drop what it deems to be unhealthy food, but to drop any advertising that appears at schools for unhealthy food. Even pictures of food have to have the federal government's stamp of approval. From the Associated Press:

Promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods around campuses during the school day would be phased out under the Agriculture Department rules, which are intended to ensure that marketing is brought in line with health standards that already apply to food served by public schools.

That means a scoreboard at a high school football or basketball game eventually wouldn't be allowed to advertise Coca-Cola, for example, though it could advertise Diet Coke or Dasani water, also owned by Coca-Cola Co. Same with the front of a vending machine. Cups, posters and menu boards that promote foods that don't meet federal standards would also be phased out.

Ninety-three percent of such marketing in schools is related to beverages. And many soda companies already have started to transition their sales and advertising in schools from sugary sodas and sports drinks to other products they produce. Companies are spending $149 million a year on marketing to kids in schools, according to the Agriculture Department.

There are questions as to whether diet sodas are actually healthier than sodas with sugar in them, but they have the government stamp of approval, so it's fine. It's the stamp that makes it safe.

I dare some kid out there to make a book cover out of candy bar wrappers. You know you want to.

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  1. First the SCOTUS rulings, now this.

    Bad day.

  2. There are questions as to whether diet sodas are actually healthier than sodas with sugar in them, but they have the government stamp of approval, so it’s fine. It’s the stamp that makes it safe.

    They are not any healthier, and they taste like shit.

    1. The first time I tasted Diet Coke, I thought it had, um, “turned”. That is one vile drink.

      1. I can’t help but shudder when I think about how terrible it tastes.

        1. I must have a defective gene or something, because I cannot discern the slightest difference between soda made with sugar, artificial sugar, and, say, corn syrup. They all taste sweet. Admittedly I’m not a big sweets guy, but I really don’t get this.

          1. Sure, they taste sweet, at first. Then the aftertaste hits.

            1. Yeah. Aftertaste. Also, I’ve yet to try an artificial sweetener that didn’t nauseate me pretty badly a few minutes after having the soda.

              1. I find this too–bitter aftertaste and mild nausea for an hour or so afterwards. And it doesn’t matter which kind of artificial sweetener–saccharine, cyclamate, whatever.

            2. I don’t taste this aftertaste, either. What does it taste like? Psychosomatic behavior?

              1. Think about what licking Warty might taste like.

                That’s the diet soda aftertaste.

              2. Bitter.

          2. I had a discussion with the really cute waitress at this sports grill I was eating lunch at last week about not being able to taste the difference between diet and regular.

            She asked me if she had given me a diet refill instead of the regular I ordered. I think she did but I said I wasn’t sure but was fine with it as it was since it tasted about the same.

            1. Aww. You and Epi are samesies.

            2. Could be the “cute waitress” effect. Would you have tasted the difference between hamburger and Styrofoam? If you did, would you have made her replace it?

              1. I would have happily eaten styrofoam if it meant getting her number. Unfortunately I’m terrible at making a move in situations like that.

                I still left her a decent tip.

      2. You can kill most of the aftertaste by cutting it 50% with seltzer water.

    2. Coke Zero is as good or better than the Original. Same with Diet Dr Pepper.

  3. from sugary sodas and sports drinks to other products they produce

    Christ, you cheap out with the “sugary sodas” clich? and then give me “products they produce” on top of it? Where is your dignity, AP reporter?

  4. Also:

    It’s the stamp that makes it safe.

    And the pictures are just as bad as the foods. Back to semiotics.

    1. You were discussed in the PM Links. If you want to make Epi’s head explode video tape yourself rapping to this

      America, where we’ll ban images of potato chips for the children but not that video!

      1. I’m kinda afraid to watch it at this point. Oh fine…

        1. HAHA so bad omg I had to stop when she iced her own tummy

          1. The fact that you could get farther than a few seconds is all the proof anyone needs of your worst-ness.

            1. I admit, I was mesmerized for a time.

              1. You’re welcome for giving you an obvious song to twerk to at your bachelorette party.

                1. When do the invites for this go out?

          2. I’m actually kinda horny after that.

  5. So if Rand Paul is elected president could we at least hope that shit like this gets immediately stamped out? Because that’s more than enough to justify voting for him.

    Of course true justice would be having the FDA and Department of Agriculture regulators who came up with these rules run out of DC on the rail, but simply repealing these regs would do.

    1. Rand Paul with the pardon power alone should make anyone want to vote for him.

      1. I have a fantasy of Paul getting elected and promptly pardoning every non-violent drug offender in federal custody.

  6. How can the Department of Agriculture force these schools to do this? Is it that they are setting guidelines for federally funded programs?

    1. Yes, they’ll lose their federal funding if they don’t cooperate.

      1. Nice school you got there. Shame if somethin’ would happen to it.

      2. Has anyone tested if the ruling in the Obamacare case–that the Federal government could not threaten to withhold funds if the states did not expand Medicaid programs–applies to other instances of government extortion?

        1. Not a fan of Medicaid, but extortion seems like the wrong word for ‘do this or we will stop giving you lots of money.’

          1. It’s more like ‘do this or we’ll stop giving your citizens’ back the money we took from them’

            1. I do not think much of that money goes to those who pay for it.

      3. Well, that is kind of a horse of a different color. I do not think the federal (or any) government should be involved in schools, but I do not have an issue with a piper calling the tune, so to speak.

    2. How can the Department of Agriculture force these schools to do this?

      Yeah, shouldn’t it be DHS and the IRS doing the forcing?

  7. Also, kettle chips. Good, or evil?

    I say evil, but my friends are convinced that Grandma Utz chips are the best chips ever.

    1. Meh. Bob’s Texas Style Jalapeno chips are the best ever. Followed by Miss Vickie’s.

      1. Had Miss Vickie’s Jalapeno chips for lunch and they were delicious. Haven’t seen Bob’s around here but will keep an eye out.

        1. Bob’s are hard to find, I’ve only seen them around the hill country and houston. They are phenomenal, though.

  8. If the FDA could overrule sugar subsidies, there might be a reason for it to exist.

  9. “Companies are spending $149 million a year on marketing to kids in schools, according to the Agriculture Department.”


    For the record = Coke spent about $1bn (with a B) on marketing @ the Beijing Olympics alone. The US market for soft drinks is about $70bn per year (probably closer to $100bn if you count all the various non-carb drink categories) $150m is the kind of money they find between the couch cushions to maybe run some adverts in Swahili.

    And this is supposed to make you PANIC about the horrors of kids drinking soda.

    1. I’m immediately suspicious when numbers are thrown out without comparisons.

  10. It was only 2 years ago the nannies were saying the just wanted to make sure everyone saw the information because then they would make the “right” choice.

    1. People are going to have to start realizing that the BAN BONER crowd is all the same, whether they are after guns, snack foods, or anything. They will lie incessantly and nothing is ever enough for them. People seem to have finally wised up about them regarding guns, but it’s all the same.

  11. After reading this, I have a sudden urge to eat a whole box of pop-tarts and drink a 2 liter of Mt. Dew.

  12. Until they ban computers and hand held devices that have games, kids will continue to be FAT. Oh yeah, close McDonalds and other junk food empires like it.

  13. There are two benefits I can clearly identify as the result of being a 1960’s kid watching Saturday morning cartoons.

    First, there is an indifference I’ve built up to advertising. Lucky Charms is not ‘magically delicious’. Cocoa Puffs don’t even taste like chocolate. My mom bought them all for me. I like Wheat Checks.

    Second, the cartoons I was watching, between the advertisements, were the made in the golden era of TV cartoons. Most of them were made in the 1950s, before I was born. Bugs Bunny has a black belt in Kung Fu salesmanship. Every time a salesman tries to twist Bug’s arm, the salesman lies flat on his back on the floor.

    1. This is me as well and I liked corn chex, rice krispies and shredded wheat.

      Coco puffs and lucky charms sucked.

      I also remenber Rocky and Bullwinkle, the cold war tongue in cheek humor was great, plus Fractured Fairy Tales and Sherman and Mr. Peabody.

  14. Nothing wrong with advertising to a captive audience.

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