Pressure for “taking the Mickey” out of Disney in children’s food

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 31st October 2012

US doctors at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have written an open letter to Walt Disney Co, urging the company to remove its characters from confectionary food products in the United States.

General Mills which owns the Pillsbury hallow sugar cookies featuring Cinderella and packets of mallow lollypops featuring Disney trademark, Mickey Mouse, are just some of the products that the US public interest advocates say are promoting unhealthy food to children.

The letter addressed to Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Co, Robert Iger, questions Disney’s commitment for 85 per cent of “Disney trademarked” food to meet nutrition standards. The letter suggests that instead of trademarked confectionary, Disney could do more deals like the one it now has with Paramount Farms pistachios.

Doctors from the US Center for Science in the Public Interest and authors of the letter, Michael Jacobson and Margo Wootan, say that there are too many holidays to allow Disney characters on “holiday treats.”

“We urge Disney to narrow the exemption for licensed characters, and no longer allow the use of its characters on candy and other seasonal foods of poor nutritional quality,” the letter says.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest letter to Disney follows ongoing world-wide debate about the advertising of inappropriate foods to children. Some countries appear to consider that self-regulation of advertising standards is not working.

Australian Food News has previously reported moves by the Cancer Council and the University of Sydney’s school of public health  against food advertising  targeted at children during peak viewing times. Many health professionals in Australia have argued that the advertising industry needs a tighter code of conduct or government intervention for better regulation. However, the advertising industry self-regulatory agency has rejected the need for change.