No More Tony: No, not Tony Soprano, Tony the Tiger!

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Did ya hear? Did ya hear? Tony the Tiger may not be so Greeeeeaaaaat anymore. The Kellogg Company made history today agreeing to adopt nutrition standards for their foods marketed to kids. But wait there's more! They're also promising to back off pushing their products in the media using kiddie characters like Tony the Tiger, Sponge Bob, Shrek etc. They have pledged not to use such licensed characters in mass media advertising to kids under 12 unless a product meets the new nutrition standards.

Wow! This is big news. Why now you ask? Well, otherwise Kellogg's would face a lawsuit from advocacy groups Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) as well as two independent parents who wanted them to stop marketing junk food to young kids. Rather than face litigation Kellogg's did the right thing and settled, promising to make significant changes in the way they make and advertise their products. Good of them.

So here's the rundown - Any food advertised on TV, radio, print, or websites with an audience of 50 percent or more children under age 12 will have to meet the following nutrient standards per serving of that food:

• No more than 200 calories;
• No trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat;
• No more than 230 milligrams of sodium (except for Eggo frozen waffles);
• No more than 12 grams of sugar (excluding sugar from fruit, dairy, and vegetables).

The sugar still seems a little high, but Kellogg's rebuff's that stating "we view this level as a starting point and are committed to innovate and/or provide alternative choices at lower sugar levels over time". Seems reasonable, if that happens of course. Otherwise, I think these are pretty good standards to follow so far.

They've made additional commitments such as not advertising in schools to kids under 12. That's pretty big too. To get more details check out CSPI's press release click here. And as always let me know your thoughts, pro or anti Kellogg's new nutrition commitments.

Have a Tony the Tiger free day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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