Some Notes on the Federal Trade Commission’s Food Advertising Policy


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
April 3, 2019

In the early 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission began working on an industrywide rule to cover food advertising, including claims for “organic” and “natural” foods. Proponents of these terms attemnpted to persuade agency officials to define them legally and establish standards. Opponents argued that commercial use should be prohibited because such words are inherently misleading. I testified before the Commission in 1977. In 1982, the Commission voted to terminate the rulemaking procedure and use a case-by-case approach. Passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 required the FDA to revise its food labeling regulations. After they were issued, the FTC issued an enforcement policy statement that meshed with the new FDA policies. The documents listed below detail happened during all of the various proceedings.

This article was posted on April 3, 2019.