Marketers Defend Themselves in Food Fight

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In another sign that the food marketing issue has raised red flags in the ad community, the Children's Advertising Review Unit issued an 87-page white paper last week pointing out the do's and don'ts of marketing food products to children.

The study sums up CARU guidelines and documents its self-regulatory efforts in more than 900 cases or inquiries into questionable food marketing practices. CARU is an industry-backed group that keeps tabs on ads targeted to children, notifies marketers of questionable practices and refers egregious, unresolved cases to the FTC.

The White Paper was prompted by a request last fall from C. Manly Molpus, president of The Grocery Manufactures Association of America, who wanted to make sure policy makers and others knew about  industry self-regulation. There has been increasing ad industry concern over the issue of childhood obesity and Washington's focus on TV and advertising's role in that trend.

The White Paper was sent to the FTC and the FDA, among others.

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