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UK begins serious debate to ban TV advertising of junk foods to children

Thursday, July 06, 2006 by: NaturalNews
Tags: food marketing, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) -- UK food advertisers and manufacturers have agreed on a possible ban on brand-name food advertisements aimed at children younger than 10 on broadcast television. The agreement will also limit all ads for food and drinks to 30 seconds per hour on kids' channels.

However, the National Heart Forum (NHF) -- a coalition of nearly 50 UK health and consumer groups -- criticized the manufacturers' proposals, and called instead for a broader ban on all junk food ads before 9 pm.

Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) -- which represents manufacturers -- said of the current proposal, "We think it is very significant and very good for parents," and that the UK's Office of Communications, or OFCOM, would decide if the industry's proposals were "appropriate."

NHF deputy chief executive Jane Landon said, "I think it is a predictably weak proposal from industry interests which are working to conserve advertising freedoms rather than pleasing parents." Landon also criticized the FDF's failure to include all children in its ban instead focusing only on those under 10, and its failure to target junk food.

The FDF has also accepted a proposal from the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice that would ban the use of celebrities and licensed characters such as Disney cartoons in ads aimed at kids under 10, as well as a ban on promotional food and drink giveaway ads aimed at that age group.

OFCOM will consider all the proposals through the summer before announcing a decision in the fall.

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