Monday six Democratic Senators sent a letter to the agencies comprising the Interagency Working Group (IWG) expressing concern over the group’s proposed guidelines for marketing food to children. The letter was sent to the heads of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The letter was signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI, Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry), Max Baucus (MT, Chairman of the Committee on Finance), Bob Casey (PA, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee), Kristen Gillibrand (NY), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Michael Bennet (CO). The Senators question the following specific elements of the IWG’s proposal:

  • The analysis used in determining how the guidelines conflict with other nutrition programs operated by the FDA and USDA;
  • The broad definition of “marketing” and how it can prohibit the sponsorships of programs that greatly benefit children;
  • The analysis used in determining the positive and negative impacts of the guidelines on various agricultural commodities; and
  • The consideration given by the IWG of an industry self-regulation program that has dramatically decreased the marketing of unhealthy products to children.

This letter is the latest example of the bipartisan opposition in the Senate and House to the regulatory overreach of the IWG’s proposed guidelines. Other members of Congress have sent the following letters outlining their concerns:

This shows there is a bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill about the IWG’s guidelines and that the IWG’s regulatory overreach is bad policy.

Erik Glavich is director of legal and regulatory policy, National Association of Manufacturers.