Chiquita Brands International Inc., Dole Food Co. and Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. were among 48 food companies that received Federal Trade Commission subpoenas last month requesting more information on their marketing efforts to children.

The subpoenas, or “orders to file special report,” were sent Aug. 23 and asked for nutritional data on the companies’ products by Dec. 1, in addition to marketing information most of the same companies were requested to provide in 2007, the FTC said.

New information will be used for a follow-up to a 2008 FTC study on food industry marketing activities and expenditures targeted toward children and adolescents.

Food companies have come under heightened scrutiny in recent years amid concern that their advertising and promotions encourage unhealthy eating habits and contribute to childhood obesity.

In the 2008 report, the FTC recommended that companies that market foods or beverages to children under the age of 12 adopt “meaningful, nutrition-based standards for marketing their products.”

The FTC also recommended that companies improve the “nutritional profiles” of products marketed to children and cease in-school promotion of products that do not meet nutritional standards.

Media companies, the FTC said, should restrict the licensing of their characters to healthier foods and beverages that are mar-keted to children and “consider limiting ads on child-directed programs to those that promote healthier foods and beverages.”

In addition to Chiquita, Dole and Fresh Del Monte, the FTC’s subpoena list last month included Campbell Soup Co., Coca-Cola Co., Kraft Foods Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. Companies on the list had most frequently advertised food and beverages to children and adolescents, according to an FTC spokeswoman.

Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fresh Del Monte, said the company will provide the FTC with the requested information. Representatives for Chiquita and Dole didn’t immediately respond to messages.