Advertising watchdog REJECTS plans to ban junk food adverts until 9pm

Advertising watchdog REJECTS plans to ban junk food promotions in TV commercials until 9pm watershed

  • Watchdog says that a ban on junk food ads until 9pm is not justified by evidence
  • The Advertising Standards Authority says that the current controls ‘work well’
  • There is currently an ad ban on high fat, salt and sugar food on children’s TV

Advertising watchdogs have rejected Government plans to ban junk food commercials on TV and online until the 9pm watershed.

In a blow to the war on childhood obesity, the Advertising Standards Authority has told ministers that such as ban is not necessary or justified by evidence.

Currently there is a ban on advertising food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar (known as HFSS) on children’s channels, during dedicated slots of children’s programming, or during any shows commissioned for or directed at children.

Advertising watchdogs have rejected Government plans to ban junk food commercials on TV and online until the 9pm watershed. In a blow to the war on childhood obesity, the Advertising Standards Authority has told ministers that such as ban is not necessary or justified by evidence [File photo]

The Government’s consultation paper, launched by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in March, points to research suggesting that on average, 4.4 minutes of food advertising, compared to non-food advertising, is associated with consuming an extra 60 calories. 

It claims that restricting these ads between 5.30am and 9pm would reduce the total audience for these foods by an average of 60 per cent.

But the ASA says existing controls work well and claims children’s exposure to junk food commercials has already fallen by 70 per cent since 2005.

It said evidence ‘does not challenge the generally agreed position that the causation of obesity is multi-factorial, that factors such as parental influence, schools policy, availability of HFSS products and socio-economic circumstances play the primary contributory roles in obesity’.

The Children’s Food Campaign said: ‘Advertising does influence our kids, that’s why companies invest millions in making ads that appeal to children.’

Currently there is a ban on advertising food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar (known as HFSS) on children’s channels, during dedicated slots of children’s programming, or during any shows commissioned for or directed at children [File photo]

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