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BURBANK, Calif. - The Walt Disney Co. has unveiled new food guidelines that it said are aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. The guidelines for licensed foods and promotions aimed at children will govern Disney's business partnerships and activities in the U.S. on a going-forward basis, and will be adapted internationally over the next several years, the company said.
The new policies call for Disney to use its name and characters only on kid-focused products that meet specific guidelines, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugar. Disney also said it has made nutritionally-beneficial changes in the meals served to children at all Disney-operated restaurants in its parks and resorts. It unveiled a company-wide plan to eliminate added trans fats from food served at its parks by the end of 2007, and from its licensed and promotional products by the end of 2008.
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"Disney will be providing healthier options for families that seek them, whether at our parks or through our broad array of licensed foods," said Disney president and c.e.o. Robert Iger in a statement. "The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want and parents will feel good about giving them."
The Disney guidelines are based on the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and were developed in cooperation with two top child health and wellness experts, Dr. James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Keith Thomas Ayoob, associate clinical professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The guidelines governing kid-focused licensed foods include:
* A cap on calories that results in appropriate kid-sized portions.
* Total fat not exceeding 30 percent of calories for main and side dishes and 35 percent for snacks.
* Saturated fat not exceeding 10 percent of calories for main dishes, side dishes, and snacks.
* Added sugar not exceeding 10 percent of calories for main dishes and side dishes and 25 percent of calories for snacks.
Disney said it will continue to license special-occasion sweets such as birthday cakes and seasonal candy as part of its product range, but will limit the number of indulgence items in its licensed portfolio to 15 percent by 2010. In addition, most special-occasion sweets will be available in single-serving packets.