Monday, June 20, 2005

USDA angers parents by refusing to ban junk food in schools

That's the title of Lance Gay's article last week for the Scripps Howard News service, covering USDA's denial of the Commercial Alert* petition on junk food in schools, which we mentioned only briefly last week. See also the coverage in Calorie Counter News. Gay quoted me saying the Commercial Alert* petition seemed fairly mild and reasonable. For balance, he spoke with soda industry folks and a representative of the Grocery Manufacturers of America:

Drew Davis, vice president of federal affairs for the National Soft Drink Association, said he didn't think Commercial Alert made a case that warranted federal action. "They didn't provide any proof that a problem exists -- where's there proof of a problem?" Davis said.

Stephanie Childs, a spokeswoman for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, added: "It is our belief that community decisions are the best approach. Our companies work with schools to provide whatever products they want in schools."

GMA's support for community decisions in place of federal action is ironic, given the association's longstanding support for federal preemption of stronger proposed state rules for food labels.

*The name of the consumer group, Commercial Alert, has been corrected (7/1/2005).

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