FTC looks again at food industry’s message to children

The Federal Trade Commission is again asking major food companies – through subpoenas – for information on how it markets its products to children.

In 2008, the FTC launched the first part of this study in an effort to see industry-wide how and what food is marketed to children, and the health benefits/drawbacks of them.

Results were alarming but also expected, considering that today 1 out of every 3 children is at risk of developing juvenile forms of diabetes. A poor diet combined with more sedentary lifestyles among today’s children are among the most common reasons for a diabetes diagnosis.

The study was called “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities and Self-Regulation.”

At least 36 companies who were included in that study will participate in a follow-up effort launched recently by the FTC. Twelve companies are joining the effort for the first time and another eight are not participating.

The FTC has subpoenaed records from the following companies which are major food and beverage manufacturers, distributors and marketers and quick-service restaurants:

* 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, Incorporated

* McDonald’s Corp.

* McKee Foods Corp.

* National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board

* Nestlé USA

* PepsiCo

* Perfetti Van Melle USA

* The Procter & Gamble Company

* Ralcorp Holdings

* Ready Pac Produce

* Red Bull North America

* Rockstar

* Sonic Corporation

* Stemilt Growers

* Summeripe Worldwide

* Sunkist Growers

* Sunny Delight Beverages Co.

* The Topps Co.

* Unilever United States

* Wendy’s/Arby’s Group

* Yum Brands

The FTC wants to know if it must intervene between children and the companies selling them dietary choices. Regulators want to know if two years of self-regulation in the industry has changed what message children are receiving.

FTC Reaches Settlement Over Credit Repair Scam

A credit repair operation has reached a settlement with the FTC and has agreed to stop making false claims and stop charging up-front fees.

Clean Credit often debited $400 from consumers’ bank accounts before receiving a signed contract, and then did little, if anything, to fulfill its promises.

The settlement agreement requires that Clean Credit Report Services, Inc, Ricardo A. Miranda, Ruthy Villabona, and their son, Daniel R Miranda give up two cars, three houses, and six commercial properties in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Florida, and in Bogota, Colombia.

In addition, the settlement order imposes a $14.4 million judgment that will be suspended, contingent upon the defendants surrendering their assets, including frozen funds totaling about $165,000 and any proceeds received from selling assets.