Former White House Aide Now Working for Food Lobby

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Foodmakers, fast-food chains, and media companies have teamed up to battle government efforts to create voluntary nutritional guidelines for foods marketed to children, The Washington Post reports Sunday. And the group is being managed by former White House communications director Anita Dunn.

The group, called the Sensible Food Policy Coalition, includes General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo, and Time Warner. Disclosure records show they spent $6.6 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, and the members of the group collectively have spent nearly $60 million on lobbying since the start of the Obama administration, the newspaper reports.

Media giant Viacom is one of the members. It owns the Nickelodeon television network, whose animated characters such as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants are featured prominently on food products marketed to children. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also weighing in.

Dunn, who is now at SKDKnickerbocker, is managing the campaign, the newspaper said. She was White House communications director under President Obama in 2009 and is married to Robert F. Bauer, the former White House counsel.

First lady Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity her signature issue, and she has urged food manufacturers and retailers to curb the marketing of unhealthy foods.

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