WASHINGTON – The preliminary proposed principles for marketing to children raise a number of concerns and are “vague at best,” AMI said in comments submitted to the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Proposed Nutrition Principles.

“The principles alone will do little to change the nutrition status of children without being accompanied by a clear path for achieving the principles,” the comments stated.

AMI recommended:

• A comprehensive study on the impact of marketing foods to children 17 or younger should be conducted that is subjected to public review before the Working Group initiates any standards for marketing. The study’s design, sampling and analytical methods should be published for public comment to solicit the advice and counsel of scientific and technical experts before proceeding with any such study.

• Criteria established for marketing to children should be consistent with nutritional criteria set by other agencies. Deviating from these initiatives sends mixed messages to parents and children as they strive to make nutrition decisions.

• Any efforts to reduce sodium should be science-based, and achievable and should not adversely affect the safety of meat and poultry products. Setting unrealistic targets and employing a “one-size” approach in sodium reduction ignores the unique functions sodium provides in meat products compared to other foods.

• Any standards for marketing foods to children should be voluntary.

Eating a balanced diet from all food groups and engaging in moderate exercise are keys to a healthy lifestyle for Americans whether they are children or adults, AMI stressed. Because they provide essential amino acids, minerals such as iron, vitamins and other dietary requirements, meat and poultry products are an important component of a healthy human diet.

“AMI would be pleased to work with the Working Group regarding each of these concerns and requests that AMI’s recommendations be considered before finalizing any voluntary nutritional principles to guide the food industry in marketing to children,” the comments concluded.