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Follow Britain and ban junk food advertising

Follow Britain and ban junk food advertising, say Greens

The Green Party is calling for a ban of TV ads of fat, sugar and salt-laden food, in line with a British Government initiative.

“We want the Government to follow the British move and introduce legislation banning TV advertisements for fatty, sugary and salty foods unless the food industry voluntarily agrees not to advertise these products itself,” Green Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

The British plan, to be unveiled in a white paper later today, will ban all junk food ads on TV from 2007 unless food companies agree to voluntary restrictions. The ban would affect all television programming before 9pm.

“This is a bold step that our Government has been too meek to contemplate. Poor diet causes at least 30 per cent of all deaths in New Zealand, and it is outrageous that Labour has refused to intervene to protect our children from the multi-million dollar marketing exploits of junk food companies.”

“The British Government has acknowledged that there is strong evidence to support restrictions on advertising and promotion to children of food and drink that are high in fat, salt and sugar. Why is our Government ignoring this strong evidence?”

New Zealand should also embrace Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines likely to be used to decide what foods should be targeted by any junk food ad bans.

“The FSA considers any product with more than 20g of fat per 100g, 10g of sugar per 100g, or 0.5g of salt per 100g, to be unhealthy. These unhealthy foods won’t be able to be advertised to children. I urge our Food Safety Authority to adopt these guidelines, and for the Government to use them when considering a similar junk food ad ban.

“The Government knows it is staring at an obesity epidemic which experts predict will fuel one of the biggest health crises of our era, and yet it is doing nothing significant to curb the relentless targeting of unhealthy products by the food industry to children.

“The Government must act now by following the British model and placing restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy food to children.”

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