Group Sues Against Marketing Junk Food To Kids

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

January 18, 2006

The consumer group that made its mark claiming movie popcorn was unhealthy is now focusing on junk food advertising and children.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest planning to slap a lawsuit on the Kellogg's Corporation and the Nickelodeon Children's network for what it calls 'brainwashing.'

Advocacy groups are suing with the hopes that these companies will stop marketing junk food to kids. It's a problem that some parents see whenever they visit the grocery store.

"Well there is the response, 'Oh Mom I want that, I want that,' and you kind of have to kind of go, 'um, I don't want you to have that,' 'Why not?' 'It's just not that good for you. How would you like something else?" said parent Elaine Etter.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest claims the children's network, Nickelodeon, and Kellogg's Cereal are using well-researched marketing tactics that make children sick.

"It's a multimedia brainwashing campaign and a disease-promoting one, at that and parents are fed up," said Michael Jacobson of CSPI.

"There's this Kool Aid pack and once you drink all the juice you can see riddles," said 9-year-old Sarah Alshawi. She said that's why she bought it.

Other parents don't see it as a problem.

"He just doesn't do that. Probably because he's heard us make fun of commercials enough that he doesn't get sucked into them too easily," said parent Richard Handler.

Both companies have fired back--Kellogg's saying "We have a long-standing commitment to advertising in a responsible manner and our messages accurately portray our products."

Nickelodeon also shows 10 percent of it's air time is spent on promoting healthy eating and exercise.

The plantiff complains that ads aimed at kids are mostly for high-calorie, low-nutrition food and drinks, while both companies say they have long commitments to healthy lifestyles.

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