|March 11, 2004, just-food.com:
The Board of the Food Standards Agency will adopt new, stricter
rules for companies targeting children. The FSA hopes that the new
measures on advertising and labeling of food products geared towards
children will help stem the tide of obesity among children.
The plan commits the FSA to several initiatives, including developing
advice and guidelines for the food industry on reducing amounts
of fat, salt and sugar in products specifically aimed at children,
and agreeing guidelines on the labeling of these products to enable
consumers to identify more easily and accurately what are healthier
The FSA said it plans to monitor food industry uptake of its advice
and guidelines, and publish the results for consumers to see what
progress is being made. It also plans to work with schools to push
healthier foods higher up the menu and target vending machines in
schools to increase the range of healthier options.
Sports stars have recently come into criticism for featuring in
advertisements for crisps and other high-fat or high-calorie foods
promoted to children. The FSA said it would call on celebrities
to promote healthier food choices. It also plans to work with broadcasters
to encourage them to increase the association between high profile
characters and cartoons on TV and healthier foods.
Finally, the FSA said it would advise the broadcast regulator Ofcom,
and the advertising industry, that action to address the imbalance
in TV advertising of food to children is justified.
“Children are bombarded with messages that promote food high
in fat, salt and sugar. The evidence shows that these messages do
influence children. Eating too much of these foods is storing up
health problems for their future. The Food Standards Agency wants
healthier choices to be promoted to children,” said Sir John
Krebs, chair of the FSA.
“Everyone has a responsibility to act and our action plan
is a challenge to all with a part to play: not just parents and
children, but Government, schools, the food and advertising industries
and the celebrities and sporting heroes children look up to. Just
because this is a complex issue doesn't mean we can't do anything
about it,” he added.