One loophole -- which the news reports noticed -- is that the manufacturers will continue to advertise sugary cereals on family shows, such as American Idol, which actually have a larger audience of young children than the so-called children's shows do.
Another loophole -- which the news reports did not notice -- is that the manufacturers are using tricky numbers. They declared that they would not advertise products with more than 12g of sugar per serving on the children's shows. But, they use smaller serving sizes for some high-sugar cereals, such as Cocoa Puffs, so that these cereals appear to meet the standard.
Here is the lead of the New York Times article:
Trix are no longer for kids — at least not on children’s television shows. But Cocoa Puffs are another matter.On the General Mills website, Cocoa Puffs appear to have 12g of sugar, which would barely meet the standard (click for larger image).
Trying to persuade critics the industry does not need government regulation, 11 big food companies, including McDonald’s, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo, have agreed to stop advertising to children under 12 products that do not meet certain nutritional standards. Some of the companies, like Coca-Cola, have already withdrawn all such commercials or are in the process of doing so. Others, like General Mills, said they would withdraw them over the next year or so, while a handful agreed to expand their self-imposed bans to radio, print and Internet advertising.
Still, the agreements will probably amount to a ripple rather than a sea change in terms of what foods children see pitched on their favorite television shows and Web sites. For example, while General Mills will no longer be advertising Trix to the 12-and-under crowd, it will continue to peddle Cocoa Puffs, which have one less gram of sugar per serving.
Meanwhile, Trix appears to have 13g of sugar, which would exceed the standard (click for larger image).
But watch out. General Mills' Cocoa Puffs label uses a serving size of 27g, while the company's Trix label uses a larger serving size of 32g. Using the government's customary serving size of 30g for Cocoa Puffs and Trix, both cereals exceed 12g per serving. See these links to labels for Cocoa Puffs (14g sugar) and Trix (13g sugar) on the NutritionData website.
By using a smaller serving size, General Mills made the amount of sugar in Cocoa Puffs look smaller. Really, Cocoa Puffs have more sugar than Trix.
What does it say about the voluntary guidelines that Cocoa Puffs will still be peddled to your kids on children's television?