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Agencies Seek Ethical Ads for Children's Food

Saturday, March 12, 2005; Page E03

Expressing concern about the increase in childhood obesity, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras yesterday announced that the FTC and the Department of Health and Human Services will hold a workshop this summer to discuss the marketing of food and beverages to children.

"I do not see this as the next step in new government regulation," Majoras told the Consumer Federation of America assembly yesterday. But, she added, it was a "call to action" for the industry to do more to promote healthy foods and lifestyles, hopefully through market competition.

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"We should all be able to agree that advertising can be part of a solution," Majoras said.

The workshop will focus on the industry's self-regulation of children's advertising and is not expected to result in any guidelines. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said he hopes the agencies will develop guidelines for marketing food to children, as the government-chartered Institute of Medicine has recommended.

-- Caroline E. Mayer

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