Junk food ads ban is delayed to give companies time to adjust to new rules
- Restrictions on ads for products high in fat, salt and sugar were due next month
- But Government has delayed curbs to October 2025 to give firms time to adjust
- Health charities branded the delays as ‘disgraceful’ and warned of child obesity
- More than one in four children in this country begin primary school overweight
A ban on advertising junk food online and on TV before 9pm is to be postponed until 2025.
Restrictions on ads for products high in fat, salt and sugar were due next month to combat the nation’s bulging waistlines.
But the Government has delayed the curbs to October 2025, giving firms time to adjust.
A ban on buy one, get one free offers on junk food has already been delayed by a year amid fears it could push up prices during a cost of living crisis.
A ban on advertising junk food online and on TV before 9pm is to be postponed until 2025. [File image]
Health charities last night branded the delays ‘disgraceful’ and warned of an increase in child obesity.
More than one in four children in this country begin primary school overweight.
The planned restrictions are among the toughest in the world and would ban firms from promoting some products on TV after 9pm and online at any time.
The government’s consultation on the proposals estimated that children under 16 were exposed to 15billion junk food ads online in 2019, compared with 700million two years earlier.
It is expected to impact on the more than £600million spent by brands on all food advertising online and on TV each year.
Laws restricting the placement of junk food in supermarkets came into force on October 1 and large restaurants, cafes and takeaways were forced to add calories to menus from April this year.
Restrictions on ads for products high in fat, salt and sugar were due next month to combat the nation’s bulging waistlines. [File image]
A statutory instrument legally delaying the junk food advertising ban will be made this week and possibly as early as today (THU).
Katharine Jenner, director of the Obesity Health Alliance said: ‘Delaying junk food advertising restrictions is a shocking move by the Government, with no valid justification to do so, other than giving a flimsy excuse that businesses need more time to prepare and reformulate.
‘Children currently in reception class will now have to face a devastating health trajectory, as efforts to improve their future health have been fatally undermined.
‘Research shows restricting junk food adverts on TV and online would significantly reduce the number of children with excess weight.
‘This is the action of a government that seems to care more about its own short-term political health than the longer-term health of children.
‘We urge Rishi Sunak to reverse this attack on child health and to shorten the delay to 2024, to at least give children a better chance to grow up healthy.’
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, described the delay as ‘hugely disappointing’ and said it goes against the ‘overwhelming evidence and public support’.
He added: ‘The only people to benefit from this baseless delay are the multinational food companies who are used to making huge profits from their unhealthy products and do not have a vested interest in the nation’s health.
‘This whole saga has been a huge waste of tax payer’s money and will now put more children at risk – in fact, this policy could reduce the number of children living with obesity by 20,000 over a few years.
‘This has been orchestrated by a government which clearly has no intention of levelling up or committing to its promises in protecting the nation’s health from the devastating effects of unhealthy diets high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.’
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