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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that General Mills Executive Vice President Ken Powell told the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Food Marketing and the Diets of Children and Youth last week that his company is entitled to advertise its products to children, and said that such ads are “a crucial part of delivering innovation to our consumers.”

The statement was made as it was revealed that a group of food companies – including General Mills - has created an organization called the Alliance for American Advertising, designed to fight against government regulation of food advertising to children.

The involved companies include Kraft, which recently said it would cut back on advertising to children younger than 12, and General Mills, which recently reformulated its cereals with whole grains to make them healthier.

The alliance has gone on record that it does not believe there is a link between advertising to children and childhood obesity issues.

Powell told the committee that General Mills does not see the connection between advertising and childhood obesity, and that cereals actually are among the healthier products consumed by children.

“Breakfast cereals combine taste, nutrition and convenience with great value, and that's why it's eaten in 99 percent of American households," Powell said. "And frequent cereal consumption is associated with healthier body weights for all ages. Any way you look at it, cereal is a great food. And we advertise to help consumers understand its benefits."
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