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UK: Ofcom restricts TV advertising of junk food to children

UK regulator Ofcom recommends new rules for TV advertising of food and drink to children under 16 years. Junk food ads during TV programmes targeted at under-16s will be banned. This includes shows that have a 20% higher proportion of under-16 viewers than the UK average.

Health lobby groups say the rules don’t go far enough: some of the most popular programmes for this age group are soaps which will not be covered by the ban. They wanted a 9:00 pm watershed.

The food industry says the rules go too far.

New restrictions on the television advertising of food and drink products to children

Read more: News release, Ofcom, 17 November 2006

Junk food ad ban attacked from both sides

Ofcoms plans to ban ban advertising for foods high in fat, salt and sugar during all programmes aimed at children under 16 years. It will also ban them during shows such as The Simpsons or Friends which have a higher than average proportion of children watching.

Read more: The Guardian, 18 November 2006

Junk food ad consultation extended

Ofcom has extended the consultation period on its controversial restrictions on junk food advertising to under-16-year-olds so that industry has a chance to comment.

Read more: The Guardian, 6 Dec 2006

Ofcom have failed – now the government must step in

UK lobby group Sustain is very disappointed with Ofcom’s announcement on advertising junk food to children.

It says, “In effect they have limited restrictions for junk food adverts to the traditional hours of children’s TV. We know that over two thirds (71%) of the TV the average child watches is outside these hours, so these restrictions will have almost no effect.”

Read more: News, Sustain website, 17 November 2006

Sorrell: junk food ads will go online

An advertising company CEO warns that Ofcom’s junk food ad ban for children’s TV could result in marketing budgets switching to the internet.

Read more: The Guardian, 21 Nov 2006


FOE believes that no advertisements for unhealthy foods should be shown on television during the times when programmes intended for those aged 16 and under are being shown, or when a substantial proportion of the viewing audience is likely to be aged 16 and under.

Read our reasons for this in our submission to the Health Select Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in NZ (PDF) (Section 7.2)

Published on November 17, 2006 in International news