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Food: Advertising

Volume 460: debated on Monday 14 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the potential effectiveness of the Office of Communications’ advertising ban on junk food based on the Food Standards Agency’s nutrient profiling model; and if she will make a statement. (131986)

The Office of Communications’ (Ofcom) has assessed the impact of the new rules restricting television advertising to children for food that is high in fat, salt and sugar. They are expected to reduce children’s exposure to advertising impacts by 41 per cent. for four to 15-year-olds and 51 per cent. for four to nine-year-olds. Ofcom will review the effectiveness and scope of the new restrictions in autumn 2008, one year after the full implementation of the new content rules.

The Department will monitor the impact of new restrictions in both broadcast and non-broadcast media to see whether they deliver the Government’s commitment to changing the nature and balance of food and drink advertising to children. An interim review will be conducted in autumn 2007, and the Department has committed to work with Ofcom and industry partners on a more detailed review in 2008. On that basis, the Government will decide whether further action, such as legislation, is required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects her Department’s Food and Health Advertising and Promotion Forum to deliver its proposals on all non-broadcast promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children. (135481)

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) recently announced new content restrictions on the promotion of food and drink to children in non-broadcast media. These restrictions will apply from 1 July to food and drink advertising to children under 16, with stricter rules for the content of adverts aimed at pre and primary school children.

The Department, along with members of its Food and Drink Advertising and Promotion Forum, are investigating what voluntary action can be taken in those media that fall outside of the CAP code, packaging, sponsorship, point of sale and new media. Progress in these areas will feed into the Government’s interim review in autumn 2007, which will consider whether the new restrictions in broadcast and non-broadcast media are in practice delivering the Government’s commitment to change the nature and balance of food and drink advertising to children.

The Government will undertake a more detailed review of advertising and promotional trends in 2008.