Federal Trade Commission's authority to regulate marketing to children: deceptive vs. unfair rulemaking.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Food and beverage marketing directed at children is of increasing concern to the public health and legal communities. The new administration at the Federal Trade Commission and abundant science on the topic make it a particularly opportune time for the government to reconsider regulating marketing directed at youth. This Article analyzes the Commission's authority to regulate food and beverage marketing directed at children under its jurisdiction over unfair and deceptive acts and practices to determine which avenue is most viable. The author finds that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to regulate deceptive marketing practices directed at vulnerable populations. Although the Commission can issue individual orders, its remedial power to initiate rules would better address the pervasiveness of modern marketing practices. The Commission does not currently have the power to regulate unfair marketing to children; however, even if Congress reinstated this authority, the Commission's authority over deceptive marketing may be preferable to regulate these practices. Deceptive communications are not protected by the First Amendment and the deceptive standard matches the science associated with marketing to children. The Federal Trade Commission has the authority to initiate rulemaking in the realm of food and beverage marketing to children as deceptive communications in interstate commerce, in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. However, to effectuate this process, Congress would need to grant the Commission the authority to do so under the Administrative Procedures Act.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-553
Number of pages33
JournalHealth matrix (Cleveland, Ohio : 1991)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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