AAF Government Report

January 27, 2012


Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

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Congress Looks at Plan for New Domains

The Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law at the end of 2011 included language putting at least a temporary halt to the Interagency Working Group’s proposed “voluntary” nutrition principles for foods marketed to children.

Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission is prohibited from expending any funds moving forward with the principles until it complies with Executive Order 13563 issued by President Obama in January, 2011. Under the order, federal agencies are required to submit a description of the need for a regulation and an explanation of how the proposed regulation will meet that need, an assessment of the potential costs and benefits of the regulation, and an explanation of the manner in which the regulation is consistent with a statutory mandate. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs then reviews the proposed filing to determine whether it is consistent with applicable law.

The FTC has not publicly indicated whether or when it will submit the necessary information to the OIRA. AAF is unaware of any evidence that demonstrates a link between advertising and childhood obesity, therefore we believe that the Commission will be unable to demonstrate that the proposed guidelines will help to reduce the rates of childhood obesity. Further, AAF believes the guidelines violate the First Amendment protections for commercial free speech and would impose enormous economic costs on businesses – including food companies, agencies and the media – with no discernible benefits.

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