Marketing to kids remains on FTC's radar

Three years after delivering "orders to file special report" to 44 marketers, the FTC last week began sending subpoenas to 48 companies in order to prepare a follow-up to its 120-page report issued in 2008, "Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities and Self-Regulation," reports AdAge.com.

Although some believe the new round of subpoenas proceeds Congressional hearings and possible legislation, Carol Jennings, spokeswoman for the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices/Bureau of Consumer Protection. denied that.  "We are not proposing any regulation," she said.

Companies served include: Boskovich Farms, Burger King Holdings, California Giant, Campbell Soup Co., CEC Entertainment, Chiquita Brands International, The Coca-Cola Co., Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Coca-Cola Enterprises, ConAgra Foods, Dairy Management, Danone Foods, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Doctor's Associates, Dole Food Co., Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Dunkin' Brands, General Mills, Grimmway Enterprises, Hansen Natural Corp., The Hershey Co., Hinkle Produce, Hostess Brands, Imagination Farms, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods, LGS Specialty Sales, Mars, Inc., McDonald's Corp., McKee Foods Corp., National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle USA, The Procter & Gamble Co., Ralcorp Holdings, Ready Pac Produce, Red Bull North America, Rockstar, Sonic Corp., Stemilt Growers, Summeripe Worldwide, Sunkist Growers, Sunny Delight Beverages Co., The Topps Co., Unilever U.S., Wendy's/Arby's Group, and Yum Brands.

Anthony DiResta, an attorney specializing in advertising, marketing and media at Manatt Phelps & Phillip, agreed, saying he did not see legislation in the near future. "In order for Congress to hold hearings or empower the FTC to do anything close to rule-making, that would require a very, very progressive and activist legislative effort." But he added that marketing food products to children remains on the FTC's radar.