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Europe: Big food companies to change junk food marketing policies to under 12s

Leading European food and beverage companies have signed a pledge to change their policies on advertising to young children within the EU.

The companies say they will stop advertising foods and beverages high in fats, salts or sugar to children under 12 years by the end of 2008. This includes advertising on television, the print media, and the Internet. As well, they will not promote those foods in schools unless invited by a school to do so. Each company will write its own policy.

Read more: The Guardian, 11 Dec 2008

Food campaigners aren’t impressed

British Consumer Group Which? says the pledge is too limited in scope – both in terms of the age of the children and types of promotions covered. “It covers children up to 12, while Ofcom has already recognised the need for restrictions to protect children up to 16 in the UK. The group needs to redefine the scope of its criteria so that its measures cover the media that most children are actually using.”

The Welsh Consumer Council said that the proposals still fall short. Children who watch popular “adult” programmes, such as The X-Factor and Coronation Street will still be bombarded by adverts for food and drinks high in sugar and fat.

Richard Watts of the Children’s Food Campaign in the UK says that the announcement aims to persuade the EU that the food industry can regulate itself and it is not about improving children’s health.

Published on December 13, 2007 in International news