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FTC Wants Lawyers to Compile More Info on Marketing of Food to Kids

The FDA Law Blog linked yesterday to a Federal Register notice requesting public comments on the Federal Trade Commission's proposed issuance of "compulsory process orders" to major food and beverage manufacturers, seeking details about marketing efforts directed at children.

The FTC issued a report on this subject in 2008, and wants to assess the extent to which the 2008 report's recommendations have been implemented. What struck me in the FDA Law Blog post was the estimated time burden on recipients of these requests:

The FTC estimates that each company that receives a demand for information from the FTC will be obligated to spend (on average) approximately 600 hours to comply with the FTC's demands.

600 hours sounds like a lot of time to gather information for a supplement to a report issued two years ago. Looking at the Federal Register Notice more closely, it seems the 600 number only applies to recipients who will have to respond regarding multiple product lines, whereas those who only have a single category of products are estimated to have to commit 225 hours.

The FTC also assumes that "professional staff and outside legal counsel" will be required to do most of the legwork, and assigns an average per hour cost of $300. 

So, colleagues who do this kind of work, are these estimates reasonable for responding to this sort of request? How involved are the lawyers; will they really need to do most of the work? And is this an example of over-regulation? Should companies be required to spend this kind of cash satisfying the government's curiosity?

Posted by Eric Lipman on May 26, 2010 at 03:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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