With some critics, it’s almost as if they’ll attack food companies no matter what happens. This morning The New York Times editorialized:
Last month, 10 companies that produce almost two-thirds of the food and drink advertising for children under 12 agreed to start cutting back on advertising junk foods …
Michael Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI], a health advocacy group, quickly labeled the effort “pretty pathetic.“
Jacobson and CSPI are hardly new to the world of bemoaning marketing. Earlier this year CSPI announced its intention to sue two companies involved with advertising food during children’s television programs. Threatening that “the verdict could be in the billions of dollars,” CSPI asserted that food commercials make kids fat. Despite CSPI’s penchant for litigating the ridiculous, the lawsuit was never actually filed.
We’ve discussed the absurdity of CSPI’s claim before, but this time we’ll let the editors of the Times make the case for us, albeit unintentionally. Supporting new controls on food marketing, they write: “For years, the food and drink and candy industries have made unhealthy products irresistible to those under 12. Now the question is whether they can make healthy food and behavior look even better.” After all, there’s nothing about candy itself that might attract children more than, say, alfalfa or kale.