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Dietetics (Broadcast Advertising)

Volume 934: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what changes have been recommended by the Medical Advisory Panel regarding dietary features of advertising on radio and television since the Independent Broadcasting Authority was set up; which of its recommendations have been implemented; and if he will make a statement;(2) in view of the dangers to children's health from food and drinks which contain sucrose if he is satisfied that the Independent Broadcasting Authority is complying with the spirit of its code in the advertising of this matter;(3) in what circumstances the Medical Advisory Panel is called upon as a body to deliberate on matters of policy as they affect dietary features of advertising on radio and television;(4) if he is satisfied that the Independent Broadcasting Authority pays adequate attention to the changing views of the medical and dental professions on dietary matters, and, where necessary, sees that advertisements and the content of television programmes meets the changing requirements of responsible opinion;(5) if he will recommend an amendment to the Independent Broadcasting Authority's code of advertising stating that advertisements shall not encourage consumption by children of food and drinks containing sucrose; and if he will make a statement.

Under the Independent Broadcasting Act 1973 the duty of drawing up a code governing standards and practice in all broadcast advertising, including the prohibition of classes of advertisements, and of enforcing the code is laid upon the Independent Broadcasting Authority. The Authority has a duty from time to time to consult with my right hon. Friend as to the classes of prohibited advertisements.In carrying out its obligations and on matters of general policy the Authority receives advice from its Advertising Advisory Committee, on which there is a medical representative, and, in relation to advertisements for medicines and treatments, from a medical advisory panel, A member of this panel is always consulted about proposed advertisements referring to nutritional or dietary regimes to ensure that the advertisements are not misleading, or harmful.I am informed that the IBA is satisfied that the code takes appropriate account of the interests of dental hygiene and that its policy in this respect, which has been recently reconsidered, is in accord with responsible medical opinion. It is the Authority's view that an amendment of the code along the lines proposed by my hon. Friend is not needed.