AB-0841: Pupil nutrition: food and beverages: advertising: corporate incentive programs

Session: 2017-2018
Author: Weber
Status: Signed into Law (Chaptered)
AAP-CA Position: Support
To view the status of this bill on the State Website, click here.

AB 841 (Weber) would prohibit the marketing in schools of junk food that does not meet the “Smart Snack” standards.

AAP Positional Letter

September 28, 2017

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
California State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

AB 841 (Weber): Pupil Nutrition: Food and Beverages: Advertising: Corporate Incentive Programs

Dear Governor Brown:

The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports proposed legislation AB 841 (Weber). AB 841 (Weber) prohibits the marketing in schools of junk food that does not meet the “Smart Snack” standards.

In 2010, the federal government passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA). Under the HHFKA regulations, schools that participate in the school breakfast and lunch programs are required to serve healthy food options to kids under the “Smart Snacks” standards. Senate Bill 1169 codified the new rules and regulations that govern competitive food and beverages as required under the HHFKA. On July 21, 2016, the USDA announced new rules requiring schools to ensure that any food or beverage that is marketed on school campuses during the school day meets the “Smart Snacks” standards.

Even though these new standards are in place, the marketing of junk food to children is big business. A report from the Federal Trade Commission showed that companies spend $149 million on in-school food marketing. The marketing of junk food directly to our children and youth adversely. Research shows that food brand recognition by children even in preschool predicts a higher body mass index (BMI), demonstrating that name brand marketing/advertising has a strong impact on childhood obesity.

Pediatricians spend significant time counseling families and children on how to make healthy choices and establish healthy habits. Using unhealthy foods and beverages as incentives for school performance undermines the overarching goal of creating healthy habits. Schools must be places where kids receive a consistent set of messages about healthy eating. If the unhealthy food or beverage cannot be sold in school, then it should also not be promoted in school.

California pediatricians respectfully request that you sign AB 841 (Weber) into law. We thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.


Kris Calvin
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California

CC: AAP-CA Leadership, Lydia Bourne, AAP-CA Advocate