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Roskam, business leaders bash Obama’s new regulations

Rep. Peter Roskam R-WheatSarLee CEO C.J. Raleigh complathproposed new food advertising regulations would prohibit them from promoting turkey sandwich Super

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, and Sara Lee CEO C.J. Raleigh complain that proposed new food advertising regulations would prohibit them from promoting a turkey sandwich at the Super Bowl. photo by Abdon Pallasch

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:30AM



Standing next to a picture of a wholesome-looking turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and swiss cheese, Sara Lee CEO Christopher J. Fraleigh said Tuesday that new rules proposed by the Obama Administration would prohibit him from advertising that sandwich during the Superbowl.

“A turkey sandwich made with Sara Lee fat-free lean turkey meat, we would not be able to advertise that on venues, be it the Superbowl or anything that would have a significant child audience, because the product is a little bit too high in sodium,” Fraleigh. “Current regulation of advertising toward children is a perfect example of regulation that just goes way too far.”

The proposed guidelines say only foods with 210 mg of sodium per serving may be advertised to children. A sandwich made with regular Sara Lee Turkey meat has 630 mg per serving. Even the low-sodium version of the meat has 410 mg of sodium.

“We will no longer be able to advertise Ball Park hot dogs in stadiums because there’s too many kids that go to stadiums,” Fraleigh said. “Chocolate Easter bunnies will no longer be allowed because that is a character that appeals too much to children.”

Fraleigh appeared with U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), the Republicans’ chief deputy whip in the House of Representatives, in the last of three stops around Chicago Tuesday in which Roskam tried to call attention to the effects of government regulation on business.

The first was at the Federal Signal Corp. in Oak Brook, where the CEO said new regulations requiring the company to use different engines would be cost-prohibitive. The next was a stop at White Metal Casting in Bensenville, where the CEO said new air quality regulations would leave him no money for new hires.

“Their air particulate quality standard in the factory, ironically, has to be better than the air outside,” Roskam said. “Right now, the standard is 15 parts per billion. The new standard would be two parts per billion.”

Roskam’s prescription for a cure: a new bill that would require any administration regulation that would have greater than a $100 million impact on the economy would need to be approved by Congress.

Fraleigh said the administration should trust the food industry to regulate itself.

“Americans and American children weigh too much,” Fraleigh said. “They’re not healthy enough, It is very much the responsibility of American food companies to make a big contribution to correct that.”

Among other ways Sara Lee does that, Fraleigh said, “We do that by aggressively developing new products that are healthier. We are reducing the salts in all of our products ... The industry has shown itself to be a good steward.”

Obama Administration officials could not be reached for comment.



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