New legislation proposed in Congress today would require the U.S. Department of Education to study the nutritional value of foods available in schools, as well as the forms of food marketing. Sponsored by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Todd Platt (R-PA), the National School Food Marketing Assessment Act has a large roster of supporters, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Parent Teacher Association, American Heart Association, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Everything from McDonald’s burgers and fries to Pizza Hut dishes to candy and soda is sold in public schools, often in lunch rooms. While companies that market to children have adopted guidelines that ostensibly ban in-school food marketing to kids under 12, the rules are ambiguous, to say the least. The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative’s Fact Sheet on the Elementary School Advertising Principles [pdf] allows for so many loopholes—marketing on vending machine exteriors, branded display racks, sponsored curricula—that the limits are mostly useless.
Want to support a bill to study food and food marketing in schools? If so, write your Representative using this handy form and ask him or her to support the National School Food Marketing Assessment Act.
Food Industry Seeks to Maintain Junk-Food Marketing in Schools [Center for Science in the Public Interest]
(Photo via The Gifted Photographer)