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11 companies to bump cartoons out of junk food ads

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jul 20, 2007 in Food
Pressure has been stepped up by the Federal Trade Commission on the biggest food and drink companies in the U.S. to restrict cartoons on their adds for junk food that targets children under 12 years old.
Eleven companies are to adopt new rules that will limit their advertising using cartoon characters.
Some companies are McDonald's Happy Meals. Campbell Soup Co., General Mill and PepsiCo Inc. The new rules have been announced by the FTC to try and curb the child obesity problem that is getting worse.
This will hopefully help parents to make healthier choices when buying food for their children.
Two-thirds of the food ads that are directed to children are are done by 11 companies.
Seven companies have pledged not to use licensed cartoon characters for advertising that were made popular in movies or on TV shows. The only way they will use them is if they are advertising healthier food.
The other four companies say they do not advertise at all to children under 12.
In 2005 when the issue was brought by the FTC many companies have already started to make products that are healthier.
Some companies plan to use cartoons that will promote healthier foods.
Frozen vegetable mixes in SpongeBob SquarePants packaging will land on store shelves within the month, General Mills spokeswoman Chris Shea said.
McDonald's USA plans to advertise only two different Happy Meals to children under the age of 12. One of them will have four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk, and the other will have a hamburger, apple dippers and milk. Both of these meet the company-set requirement of less than 600 calories, and no more than 35% of calories from fat, 10% of calories from saturated fat or 35% total sugar by weight.
General Mills, has restricted their ads since 2005 to reduced-calorie products and a limited of their use of licensed characters. They will now only advertise products with no more than 12 grams of sugar when marketing to the under-12 age group.
The FTC plans to check 44 food and drink companies to see how much they are spending and how they use their ads toward children
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