Companies propose curbing junk food ads for kids

July 14, 2011 - 3:15 AM
Food Marketing Children

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2009 photo, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios is seen on display at Costco in Mountain View, Calif. The nation's largest food companies say they will cut back on marketing unhealthier foods to children, proposing their own set of advertising standards after rejecting similar guidelines proposed by the federal government. The industry guidelines for children’s’ cereals, for example, would allow them to be advertised if they have around 10 grams of sugar a serving, while the formula used by the government would discourage advertising for cereals that have 8 grams of sugars in an equivalent serving. That would mean General Mills would still be able to advertise Honey Nut Cheerios cereal under the industry guidelines but would be discouraged under the voluntary government guidelines. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest food companies say they will cut back on marketing unhealthier foods to children, proposing their own set of advertising standards after rejecting similar guidelines proposed by the federal government.

A coalition of food companies — including General Mills, ConAgra and Kellogg — plan to announce the guidelines Thursday. The companies said the effort will vastly change what is advertised, forcing them to curb advertising on one out of three products currently marketed to children.

The new standards, which will allow companies to advertise food and beverage products to children if they meet certain nutritional criteria, could force some brands to change recipes to include less sodium, fat, sugars and calories.