18/04/2008

Calls For Tougher Junk Food Advertising Laws

More than eighty percent of adults believe junk food advertising can make it difficult to feed children healthy food, a new survey has claimed.

Consumer watchdog Which? Found 83% of consumers surveyed wanted the government to become more involved in controlling the marketing of unhealthy food to children. In total 2,000 people were questioned.

A Bill which would introduce strict regulations on advertising of healthy food is due to be read for the second time in Parliament next week.

It calls for a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising and for children to be protected from other forms of marketing.

Clare Corbett, a food campaigner at Which?, said: "New types of promotions, like online and text messaging, have given food companies a whole new playground to promote unhealthy products to children.

"It's no wonder pester power is a continuing problem and our research shows the real strength of public feeling."

She continued: "With childhood obesity and diet-related health problems on the increase, the Government must take serious action and soon. It is a complex problem with no easy solution, but with approaches from every angle, including an end to irresponsible marketing, there's more chance of winning the battle against childhood obesity."

However, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said advertisers in the UK are one of the most heavily regulated in Europe.

"When it comes to the marketing of food and drink products, the UK is now one of the most heavily regulated countries in Europe," Julian Hunt, FDF director of communications, said. "Our members take a responsible approach to the way the market their products and further restrictions would seem to be neither necessary nor proportionate."

Baroness Peta Buscombe, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, also said: "The polling claims by Which? seem rather loaded.

"Indeed, a recent Ipsos Mori poll asking a more balanced question showed that 76% of UK adults believe that introducing a 9pm watershed on food advertising would not reduce the level of childhood obesity."

(JM)

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