WASHINGTON, DC – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Intergovernmental Working Group’s Proposed Marketing Guidelines:
“America’s food and beverage companies share First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving obesity within a generation, and are committed to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet.
“Through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), they have also implemented robust, voluntary changes to child-directed marketing that have dramatically changed the marketing landscape in recent years.
“In July, the CFBAI announced a groundbreaking agreement to update and strengthen the CFBAI initiative with the adoption of uniform nutrition criteria for foods advertised to children, so that 100 percent of all foods marketed to children feature healthy product choices. These changes are part of our industry’s constant effort to review our products and programs in an effort to keep pace with constantly changing consumer trends and nutrition science.
“The IWG’s proposed nutrition standards are in direct conflict with established government food policy standards such as the USDA dietary guidelines and the school lunch program. They would effectively ban the advertising of 88 of the most 100 most popular foods consumed in America, including healthy foods such as cereals, soups and breads.
“In addition, an IWG ban on the advertising of foods and beverages could have a devastating impact on jobs. According to an independently conducted study by IHS Global Insight, the IWG’s proposals could cost 74,000 critical jobs across the food manufacturing and advertising industries, at a time when our economy can least afford it.
“Ultimately, the proposal is anything but voluntary and will have little or no impact on obesity and public health. Rather than tweak, adjust or modify its proposal, the IWG should withdraw the proposal and embark on a comprehensive effort to study the impact of marketing on childhood obesity and the costs and benefits of any and all proposed marketing guidelines.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.
In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. For more information visit www.gmaonline.org.