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Rules on junk food ads not working

19th September 2008

The consumer watchdog Which? has confirmed that television advertisements for junk food are still being shown during children's programmes.


The adverts are appearing despite rules introduced by Ofcom in January which say that ads promoting "less healthy" food are banned during programmes appealing to an under-16 year-old audience.

Which? researchers reported that the five shows which had the highest child audience and "only four of the top 20 most popular children's shows" were affected by Ofcom's regulations.

The watchdog looked at advertising during a two week period. They discovered that adverts by companies such as Coca-Cola and Kellogg's Coco Pops were shown during children's shows that were not affected by the regulations.

Which? food campaigner Clare Corbett said: "The ad restrictions may look good on paper but the reality is that the programmes most popular with children are slipping through the net."

"If these rules are going to be effective, then they have to apply to the programmes that children watch in the greatest numbers."

However, the Advertising Association's Chief executive Baroness Peta Buscomb stated that the watchdog's report was "sensationalist, unconstructive and missing the point".

She added that the report included shows which were "clearly not aimed at children and films screened after 10 pm."

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said that Ofcom's new rules had decreased the number of junk food ads seen by children by around half.

In December the government will receive a report by Ofcom about how effective the new regulations have been.


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Article Information

Title: Rules on junk food ads not working
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8422
Date Added: 19th Sep 2008


BBC News

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