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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 12:08 GMT
Reactions in quotes: ad ban
Crisps
Products will be assessed by Ofcom before they can be advertised
The broadcasting regulator Ofcom has announced junk food ads will be banned during TV programmes aimed at under-16s.

Foods high in salt, fat and sugar cannot be advertised, whatever time of day the programme is being transmitted.

Adult programmes watched by high numbers of children and young people will also be subject to the restrictions.

Here, campaigners and industry representatives give their views on Ofcom's recommendations.

DR VIVIENNE NATHANSON, HEAD OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS AT THE BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

"Ofcom's ban on junk food advertising during programmes targeted at under-16s does not go far enough.

"Some of the most popular programmes amongst the under-16s are soaps which will not be covered by this ban.

"We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic and must use all the weapons in our armoury to prevent the next generation of British children being the most obese and unhealthy in history.

"Ofcom clearly believes that TV advertising has an effect on children's eating habits, yet it does not have the courage to recommend a more comprehensive ban.

"Obesity in children stores up a lifetime of poor health. These children are at greater risk of having high blood pressure, developing diabetes and heart problems. Isn't the health of our children more important than advertising revenues?"

MELANIE LEACH, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE FOOD AND DRINK FEDERATION

"We are shocked that after a lengthy consultation Ofcom has moved the goalposts.

"This issue has always been about advertising to young children and industry responded on that basis with a package of strong measures designed to meet the government's objective.

The debate around this important issue has been based on high emotions and subjective opinions rather than a sensible dialogue

"We will of course be responding to the latest consultation but have strong concerns that the proposed regulations are over the top.

"Whilst we need to look at the detail, it seems that they will intrude into the evening schedule and be an unnecessary curb on adult viewing; Ofcom's own figures show that adults outnumber under 16s by nine-to-one during terrestrial programming between 6-9pm.

"The regulations will be based on a nutrient profiling model that is scientifically flawed.

"Ofcom says the model will provide an incentive for manufacturers to reformulate products; this is absolutely not the case. Many manufacturers will have no incentive to innovate because they will not be able to leap the profiling hurdle.

"The debate around this important issue has been based on high emotions and subjective opinions rather than a sensible dialogue about how we can tackle childhood obesity.

"Advertising is only a very small part of this debate. While important, any new restrictions won't provide a quick fix solution to the problem."

PAUL LYNCH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE NATIONAL HEART FORUM

"The UK currently has the highest rates of child obesity in Europe.

"This represents a missed opportunity by Ofcom to adopt a 9pm watershed and significantly reshape our food culture and make the UK world leaders in the fight against increases in diet related ill health and obesity amongst children.

"We call on the government through the Broadcasting Act to reverse this decision and as Gordon Brown recently stated 'introduce a self-denying ordinance about TV advertising of junk food during programmes that children watch before the watershed hour of nine pm'.

"The government needs to act swiftly to review these proposals and swiftly introduce stronger measures in the regulation of junk food advertising in all media including the internet, on mobile phones and in schools."

RICHARD DAVIDSON, CANCER RESEARCH UK

"We welcome Ofcom's decision to restrict advertising junk food to under-16s.

"But we are disappointed that Ofcom has abandoned the idea of a 9pm watershed.

"Childhood obesity rates continue to rise and we know that an unhealthy diet and excess bodyweight are the most important lifestyle risk factors for cancer after smoking."

PETER HOLLINS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

"Ofcom have absolutely failed to deliver.

"Their proposal falls way short of the 9pm watershed ban backed by parents and campaigners alike. How can they claim victory for protecting only 40% of the nation's kids?

Ofcom have absolutely failed to deliver

"They claim to be targeting children without targeting the programmes they watch most.

"It's also clear that even this limited proposal will be further weakened by lucrative loopholes open to exploitation.

"Ofcom has acted in the interests of the advertising and junk food industry, not our nation's children.

"The call for more consultation is another delaying tactic. The time has come to say goodnight to junk food advertising for kids - we need action not more paperwork.

"Whilst Ofcom stalls, the obesity epidemic weighing down our children's health grows."

DOUGLAS SMALLWOOD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF DIABETES UK

"It is extremely irresponsible to ignore overwhelming public opinion and have so little regard for the future health of our children.

"If these are the standards Ofcom apply, then they are not fit to make a decision on when and what junk is peddled to children via the TV.

"Let's hope the government takes urgent action and has the courage to put health before profit.

"A 9pm watershed should be introduced immediately which includes a ban on junk food brand advertising."

PHILIP CULLUM, NATIONAL CONSUMER COUNCIL

"These proposals don't get to the heart of the problem. Seventy per cent of children's viewing time is outside children's airtime and Ofcom's proposed ban won't catch programmes like Coronation Street that are very popular with under-16s.

"We pressed for a ban on junk food TV ads before the 9pm watershed because it would capture programmes children are actually watching and reduce their exposure to such ads by 80%.

"These proposals will cut children's exposure to junk food TV ads by around 40% - only half as much.

"NCC is, however, pleased that Ofcom has focused the restrictions on junk food - ie high in fat, salt and sugar food - rather than all foods - and has acknowledged that restrictions must extend to children under 16."

Children's Commissioner today expressed his disappointment that Ofcom's decision on food and drink advertising to children did not go far enough to protect them from the growing obesity crisis.

PROFESSOR SIR AL AYNSLEY-GREEN, CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER

"Ofcom's decision not to introduce a 9pm watershed fails to recognise the obesity crisis.

"If not tackled, obesity will endanger the future lives of our children and young people who will experience preventable illness and untold emotional and financial impacts.

"We must not shy away from the challenge of helping the first generation of children and young people who are expected to have a shorter life span than their parents.

"Children have been sold out yet again to the interests of profit.

"We will be holding both Ofcom and the government to account on their commitment to monitor the impact of these changes into 2008 - particularly following Tony Blair's personal commitment to enforce mandatory restrictions should voluntary measures fail.

"In practice, the status quo will barely shift, with no advertising restrictions for programmes such as X-Factor and Coronation Street - unless it can be proved that 20% more children than adults are watching.

"This decision does not restrict exposure to high fat, salt and sugar food and drinks when children and young people are enjoying TV in large numbers.

"This represents a failure to demonstrate leadership on this important health issue and is a missed opportunity to place children's rights and interests at the heart of public policy."

JUDY HARGADON, SCHOOL FOOD TRUST

"This is a positive step in the right direction but unfortunately falls short of what many experts, determined to tackle the terrible health problems associated with unhealthy eating, have called for.

"While it is clearly positive that 'cartoon time' advertising has been banned, the danger is children will still be bombarded by slick advertising messages to consume the kinds of food that are, quite literally, making them ill.

"We will be watching closely as these regulations are implemented and urge broadcasters and food and drink manufacturers to interpret the regulations in the spirit in which they are intended."


SEE ALSO
Row over junk food ad proposals
22 Jun 06 |  Health
Legal bid over junk food ad ban
22 May 06 |  Health
Should junk food ads be banned?
07 Apr 04 |  Health

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