A group of US food manufacturers has reportedly joined with advertisement agencies to create a lobby group aimed at preventing restrictions on food advertisements to children.

The Alliance for American Advertising, which includes General Mills, Kellogg and Kraft Foods, has been set up to ward off any possible government regulation or other intervention in food advertising to children, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The alliance also includes the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Grocery Manufacturers of America.  

According to Wally Snyder, head of the American Advertising Federation, which also belongs to the alliance, the purpose of the coalition is to defend food companies’ First Amendment rights to advertise to children and to promote the industry’s willingness to regulate itself, the newspaper reported.

Some health groups have called for restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverage products to children, which they believe contributes to high levels of obesity among children in the US.

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General Mills, Kellogg and Kraft Foods are the top three US advertisers of packaged foods to children, mainly due to the promotion of their breakfast cereal brands. Despite having joined the alliance, Kraft announced earlier this year that it plans to phase out advertising in television, radio and print media viewed primarily by children aged 6-11 for products that do not meet its own “better-for-you” nutrition criteria. This means that, over the course of 2005, a number of Kraft products, including regular Kool-Aid beverages, Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies, several Post children’s cereals, and many varieties of Lunchables lunch combinations, will no longer be advertised in these media.