Skip to content
Surprising Science

Can the Food Industry Regulate Itself?

To fight child obesity, the federal government wants to limit the kinds of foods available to children. The food industry has already proposed its own set of weaker standards.

What’s the Latest Development?

The Federal Trade Commission has released new nutrition standards regulating what kinds of foods can be advertised to children. It is the most recent move in a five year saga to encourage more self-regulation in the food industry. Not surprisingly, food makers say the regulations go too far. They have independently proposed two initiatives that will take effect in 2014 for companies who agree to participate. The first initiative will require one children’s meal to be available under 600 calories; the second will reduce sugars, fats and other unhealthful ingredients in foods advertised to children.

What’s the Big Idea?

America has become stunningly fatter in the last twenty years. A recent report from the non-partisan advocacy group Trust for America’s Health indicates that in vast majority of states, more than a quarter of the population is overweight. Titled “F as in Fat”, the study also reported that every state in the union has gotten fatter. Educating children about living a healthy life must be a priority for the government and private industry if we are to overcome this national epidemic. But when the government takes five years to release voluntary guidelines, can we say we are taking the problem seriously?


Up Next