New rules would ban junk food from being marketed in schools

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — New rules first lady Michelle Obama will propose on Tuesday would limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools, officials say.

Under the suggested federal regulations, companies would no longer be permitted to use logos of high calorie products on cups, vending machines or posters, a common sight in schools around the nation.

Advertising isn’t going away completely — companies would still be allowed to advertise their low-calorie or healthy products to students. Schools will also be able to determine for themselves what types of marketing would be permissible in their facilities. But the days of Coca-Cola or Pepsi using their flagship logos on scoreboards or gymnasium walls may be coming to an end.

Those products are already being phased out in schools, and officials characterized the announcement as a way to bring marketing in hallways and football fields in line with new regulations for healthier school meals.

“Schools aren’t going to market beverages they’re not selling,” said Sam Kass, the White House chef who also acts as the White House senior nutrition policy adviser.

The proposed guidelines will come as part of the fourth anniversary of the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative, which seeks to combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy food choices and exercise.

Mrs. Obama will announce the proposal at a White House event alongside Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, where she’ll also unveil programs offering extended free school lunch programs to 9 million students in 22,000 different schools.

The bulk of advertising in schools comes from drink companies, and on Tuesday the association that represents firms like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper said it supported the new regulations.

“Mrs. Obama’s efforts to continue to strengthen school wellness make sense for the well-being of our schoolchildren,” said Susan Neely, the president of the American Beverage Association, in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the USDA on their proposed rule to align food and beverage signage in schools with the new regulations as the next logical next step.”

By Kevin Liptak



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