Industry Response: Labour Commit to 9pm Watershed on Junk Food Advertising


09 May 2017 --- Adverts for food high in fat, salt or sugar would be banned from all TV shows broadcast before the 9pm watershed under Labour plans to tackle childhood obesity.

The party says the proposal forms part of a future child health bill that will be outlined in its election manifesto. The party says the proposal forms part of a future child health bill that will be outlined in its election manifesto. The Tories responded saying they had the world's "most ambitious" child obesity plan that would be put at risk by Labour.

Sustain have responded to Labour's announcement that they would ban junk food advertising on all TV shows broadcast before 9pm as part of plans to tackle childhood obesity.

Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain, said: “Labour's manifesto commitments on tackling childhood obesity take on board some of the key recommendations of the Health Select Committee's latest report, and reflect the sense of urgency that the issue demands. But the proof will be in the (healthier) pudding: the policies which the party would actually implement. The proposed 9pm watershed on junk food ads is a good start, and a measure which Sustain's Children's Food Campaign has been advocating for many years.”
“However, we know from the experience of the sugary drinks tax, that industry and its front groups will spend millions of pounds and lobby ferociously to try to block the actions that are needed. The more that a party can set out its stall now, setting out both the ambitious policy goals and the penalties for failure to comply, the better.”

“The first big test for the new Government will be over junk food marketing online, in magazines, on billboards and at cinemas. New Committee of Advertising Practice rules come into force on 1 July. The Government could set a 12 month review period for how effective those rules are in protecting children from exposure of junk food ads, and pledge to take action to close any loopholes or enforcement issues that arise.”
Sustain runs the Children’s Food Campaign which successfully campaigned for the existing restrictions on junk food advertising, and for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy linked to a fund to improve children’s health.

The Children’s Food Campaign policy statement on junk food marketing says: “Children should be protected from the marketing and promotion of less  healthy food and drink across all forms of media, wherever it is placed and  whenever it is they see it. This includes a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts on TV, as well as comprehensive rules with no exceptions across non- broadcast media and platforms. Ideally, it should be the Government – through, for instance, its Childhood Obesity Strategy – which sets the ambitious policy goals for the Committee of Advertising Practice and other relevant bodies/regulators to then align their rules to meet. These should always seek to match international best practice, and adhere to World Health Organisation recommendations.”

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