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Dannon Joins Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

Dannon joined the Council of Better Business Bureau's Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.

It became the 15th major food and beverage company to pledge not to advertise its products to kids under 12 unless the products meet nutritional guidelines. The guidelines are based on a variety of sources including the FDA and World Health Organization.

This means 100% of TV and other advertising will be for foods with restricted fat content, caps on sodium and added sugars and minimum calcium requirements. The last shouldn't be hard to meet, since Dannon makes yogurt and other dairy products.

Per initiative guidelines, the company will also restrict the use of licensed characters, agree not to advertise in schools, agree not to do any product placement in media targeted to kids under 12 and limit depictions of food in online gaming to those that meet nutritional criteria.

The initiative was launched in July 2007 at a Federal Trade Commission hearing on food marketing to kids and childhood obesity.

Dannon's announcement came on the same day Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin is scheduled to testify at a hearing on food marketing to kids in the Senate Appropriations Committee's Health & Human Services Subcommittee.

Also set to testify are Federal Trade Commission member Jon Leibowitz; Marva Smalls of MTV; Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control; Marc Firestone of Kraft Foods; Patti Miller of Children Now; and Michael McGinnis of the Institute of Medicine.

Childhood obesity and its related diseases -- heart disease, diabetes, joint problems -- are the top health threat facing the nation's children, according to the Surgeon General, and could mean a shorter average life span for children than for their parents.