The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued an open letter to Disney requesting the company stop allowing the images of its characters to be used on the packaging of holiday treats such as cookies and candy.
According to the Center, offending products include Pillsbury Halloween cookies featuring Cinderella's iconic glass slipper and packs of assorted candies including images of Buzz Lightyear.
Earlier this year, Disney proactively banned advertisements of unhealthy food items on all its television channels, websites, and radio shows in an effort to ban forces with others in the movement to improve the health of children.
As far as image placement, Disney's policy requires that 85 percent of food items marketed with its characters meet certain standards when it comes to nutritional content. According to CSPI director, Michael Jacobson, that is not enough.
"While we understand that some children want Disney-themed birthday cakes, the use of characters to promote holiday candy runs counter to Disney's commitment to responsible marketing to children," they wrote. "With so many holidays following one after another -- Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter -- such treats are not only available for special occasions, but rather have become a part of everyday marketing promotions throughout much of the year," read CSPI's statement as reported in the Los Angeles Times.
It seems that Disney does indeed contain the 15 percent to holiday-related treats, such as chocolate candies in the shape of Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, Valentine's Day box sets featuring Disney princesses and fairies, and Mickey Mouse Easter baskets.
The CSPI proposes the banning of Disney images on any and all "unhealthy" items and offers an alternative currently being used to promote Paramount Farms pistachios, which include the image of Frankenweenie.
Although the marketing of unhealthy food to children is a major issue in this country, from home to school to television, what most needs to be learned is moderation. And the CSPI's proposal ignores that fact.
If we eat healthy year round, there is nothing wrong with some Milky Ways on Halloween, some pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and some flan on Noche Buena. Disney has made it clear that they no longer abuse the popularity of its characters to shove sugary treats down kids' throats. Why berate them for practicing what we should all learn to practice? Moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle.
Disney released the following statement yesterday:
"Disney inspires kids and families to lead healthier lifestyles through comprehensive nutrition guidelines and food advertising standards that were a first for a major media company. For those special occasions where families enjoy celebrating with our characters, we reserve a mere 15% of our overall licensed food business for specialized items like birthday cakes, holiday and Halloween treats."
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