September 6, 2007

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Coordinator – Government Affairs

Marketing Restrictions Still Under Consideration in FDA Bill

The draft conference report of the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act currently under consideration would authorize the FDA to require a company to submit information regarding its marketing plan and practices for a drug prior to implementation. The language is in the draft despite the fact that similar provisions in the original versions of both bills, S. 1082 and H.R. 2900, were rejected during deliberations. The differences in the two bills must be resolved before it is signed into law. The AAF, along with other trade associations, is urging conferees to remove the marketing requirements. A copy of the association letter is available here.
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NBC Children's Programming Company to Limit Advertising

The production company for NBC and Telemundo's block of children's programming has announced it will limit food advertising during its programming to more nutritious products. Ion Media Networks produces the Saturday morning programming, called Qubo, and sells it to NBC and Telemundo. The company further said it will feature healthy lifestyle and nutrition themes in its programming. The announcement was praised by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who called it "a bold and innovative plan to promote a healthy lifestyle for our nation's youth."
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Three More Networks to Limit Character Licensing

Three children's cable networks-Cartoon Network, Discovery Communications and Nickelodeon-have announced they will limit the use of their licensed characters to advertisements for more nutritious foods. The channels, owned by Time Warner, Discovery Networks and Viacom, respectively, join the Walt Disney Company, which previously made a similar pledge. House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., called the announcement a "positive step forward."
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Obesity Study Calls for National Action

An obesity study released by Trust for America's Health calls on the federal government to make significant changes to its policies concerning food marketing. The report, titled "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2007," chides the government for not evaluating the content of advertisements and calls for national guidelines regarding food advertising to children by convening a national conference. The group has recommended the involvement of all government agencies to develop strategies toward combating obesity. Additionally, the report suggests that restaurants and food companies should be required to provide more readily accessible nutritional information about their products.
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Senate to Consider Tobacco Bill This Fall

The Senate is expected to consider a bill this fall aimed at giving the FDA jurisdiction over tobacco regulation, including its advertising. The bill (S. 625), introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., would impose a required interim rule with severe advertising restrictions. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1108), introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has not received any hearings but is expected to receive consideration soon. The AAF opposes the marketing restrictions in the bill but takes no position on which federal agency should regulate tobacco marketing.
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