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UK extends child junk food advertising restrictions

The independent reported this week that the UK government has extended an existing ban on junk food advertising aimed at children. This legislation now includes online and social media advertising. The full article is here:

It is reported that these changes will bring print, cinema and online and social media into line with television, where strict regulation already prohibits the advertising of unhealthy food to children

Junk food advertising is now to be banned across all children's media – including online and social. This has been hailed by the Independent as a landmark decision to help tackle childhood obesity in the UK.

The new rules will ban the advertising of food or drink high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) across all non-broadcast media targeted at under-16s from July next year, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said.

These changes bring media such as print, cinema and online and social media, into line with television, where strict regulation already prohibits the advertising of unhealthy food to children.
The ban targets ads that directly or indirectly promote an HFSS product from appearing in children's media or other media where children make up more than 25 per cent of the audience.
These new restrictions also apply to TV-like content online, such as on video-sharing platforms or 'advergames', if they are directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children.
A ban on companies using promotions, licensed characters or celebrities popular with children in ads for HFSS food or drink will be partly lifted for the advertising of healthier options.

The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority has announced that it will be introducing a new version of the childrens code for advertising food. The new code has been strengthened with changes along the same lines of the UK code coming into force in early 2017.

The new NZ Code is in Appendix 1 of the report of the independent committee established to establish the new code. - see This was released on 20 October

The NZ has for some years included all media within its jurisdiction for all Codes - even a tweet by the Prime Minister has been the subject of complaint. In the UK the restrictions on HFSS foods primarily applied to TV only.

The current NZ ASA Code does mention HFSS foods but there is no definition. The new Code now defines the levels of HFSS in various foods with reference to the Government Food and Beverage Classification System - also available on the ASA site -

However – the Heart Foundation while commending these changes, has suggested that the new code still does not go far enough in a Press Release on Scoop in October 2016.

Do you think these advertising standards go far enough?
Could more be done to limit advertising to children?

Go to the Scoop HiveMind Discussion on this issue to have your say

Sugar: What should we do?

© Scoop Media

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