ISBA slams EU ‘junk food’ ad ban proposal

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) is fiercely opposing proposals for an EU ban on advertisements for sugary drinks and junk foods targeting children.

The proposal was presented by a team of medical experts, the International Obesity TaskForce, at a recent summit in Copenhagen.

The taskforce has called for the introduction of measures similar to the restrictions on tobacco advertising. It has also asked for the installation of soft-drinks vending machines in schools to be stopped. A spokesman for ISBA says: “These days it has become highly fashionable to call for a stop to all advertising directed at children. We recognise the problem of obesity, but simply blaming the food industry’s advertising is not a solution to the problem.”

ISBA recently objected to a “fat tax” proposal on advertising of processed and fatty foods, such as Big Macs and Mars bars (MW July 25). The proposal was presented to the Government by independent policy forum Demos, which recommended that a tax be levied on the money spent by manufacturers on promoting fatty foods to combat the growing rates of obesity among the young.

ISBA was concerned that the introduction of such taxation could force consumers to pay high prices for foods that form part of their daily diet.

According to the obesity taskforce, at least 135 million citizens in the European Union’s 15 member states and 70 million people in countries seeking to join the EU are affected by obesity. The taskforce also accuses governments of being cowardly on this issue in the face of the huge vested interests of the food and advertising industries.

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