Junk food adverts plan 'weak'

By Louise Barnett
Wednesday 01 April 2009 16:05

Food manufacturers and advertisers have revealed their proposals for reducing the impact of junk food commercials on children.

They fall far short of the 9pm watershed favoured by health and consumer groups. Instead, the industry wants a ban on ads for all branded foods during programmes aimed at under-10s on terrestrial television. In addition, they want to limit all food and drink adverts to 30 seconds per hour all day on dedicated children's channels.

The industry dismissed the Food Standards Agency's criteria for defining which products are junk foods as "not scientifically robust".

It wants the European Food Standards Agency to develop an alternative approach to nutrient profiling. The food and advertising industries sent their proposals to Ofcom.

The regulator had set out three different options in a consultation document. It also asked respondents to create their own, fourth, option which is what the food and advertising industries have done.

The National Heart Forum - a coalition of nearly 50 health and consumer groups - dismissed the industry's proposals as "predictably weak". But Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, which represents manufacturers, said: "We think this is a very significant package."

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