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Markey Calls on More Marketers to Trim Fat

House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent letters to Chuck E. Cheese, Nestlé, ConAgra, Dannon and Yum! Brands asking them to restrict the marketing of their snack foods.

That comes as Markey praised Burger King for announcing that it would adopt restrictions on the marketing of its food to children.

Those five companies are among the remaining heavyweight food advertisers that have not announced voluntary programs along the lines of Kellogg, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Kraft and General Mills.

Under pressure from the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and legislators like Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and in the face of a growing childhood-obesity epidemic, one-dozen food companies and a handful of programmers -- Cartoon Network and Discovery Communications among them -- have voluntarily agreed to limit marketing and, in the case of the food companies, to boost the nutritional value of their foods.

“Burger King is making a whopper of a commitment to public health by voluntarily setting nutrition standards on advertising directed at children," said Markey, an inveterate phrase-turner. "It is important that other food and beverage companies step up and match the efforts these 12 companies are making.”

Markey has advised the FCC that it may have to step in to regulate food marketing if industry efforts aren't sufficient, and FCC chairman Kevin Martin has said he is ready to do so if the need arises.