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New Children’s Food Classifications for TV ads

MEDIA RELEASE 15 May 2008

New Children’s Food Classification System for TV advertising

A new system which restricts the advertising of certain foods in children’s programming times is to be phased in from 1 July 2008.

The Children’s Food (CF) Classification System has been developed by the New Zealand Television Broadcasters’ Council (NZTBC), representing Television New Zealand, TV Works and Maori Television. It applies to children’s (5-13 years) programming hours. The initiative aims to assist the Government’s Healthy Eating Healthy Action plan and consolidates an agreement that was made between broadcasters and Government Ministers in 2007.

The CF Classification is based on The Ministry of Health’s Food and Beverage Classification system which was developed as guidelines for the catering of food in schools. There are additional assessment criteria included in the CF classification to ensure it is practical and can work for television. It will be administered by the television industry’s pre-vetting agency, the Television Commercial Approvals Bureau (TVCAB).

NZTBC’s Chair and Chief Executive Officer of TV Works, Brent Impey, said that “the new Classification reflects the NZTBC’s desire to help address the obesity issue by reducing advertising exposure of certain foods that children would view within their programming times”. However, Mr Impey said obesity was a multi-faceted problem that required a number of solutions and television advertising was only a minor part. “But we are happy to do our bit” he said.

Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard and Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor today welcomed new television food advertising guidelines for children as a step forward in tackling New Zealand’s obesity problems.

"It is great to see the television industry take this step. The formulation of the guidelines is a flow on from an agreement between Labour-led government and broadcasters signed last May – one aspect of which was to introduce a new Children's Food rating to guide television advertising during children's viewing times," Trevor Mallard said.

Damien O'Connor said obesity was a serious public health issue and the broadcasters have taken a socially responsible approach in restricting children’s exposure to advertisements for unhealthy food.

“The new system gives a clear process for making decisions about what food and drink can be advertised during children’s programming times”.

"The government has introduced a comprehensive programme aimed at promoting healthy kiwi lifestyles for our young people. We know that by improving nutrition and encouraging people to be physically active and to develop lifelong healthy eating and activity habits – that it will pay off in the long term. It is excellent to see broadcasters doing their bit in addressing this issue, “said Mr O’Connor.

ENDS


Further information on the new CF Classification is available in the latest edition of the NZTBC’s “Advertising on Television: Getting It Right for Children” Guidelines [attached] (PDF).

Supporting Information


1. School-age children’s programming times are:

TV2 : Monday-Friday 7.00-8.35am
3.30-5.00pm
Saturday 7.00-10.00am.

TV3 : Monday-Friday 3.00-4.30pm
Saturday 7.00-9.00am.

Maori Television: Monday-Friday 4.30-6.00pm
Saturday 5.00-6.00pm.
These times may vary slightly from month to month in order to accommodate programming changes.
2. Programming for under five year olds contains no advertising.

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