Ofcom looks likely to contradict FSA stance

Ofcom is expected to snub recommendations made by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) when it publishes research that flies in the face of banning advertising to children, on Thursday. It follows a review of the UK’s broadcast advertising codes by the watchdog.

It is understood the research conflicts with some areas of the FSA’s Action Plan on Food Promotion and Children’s Diet, which was published earlier this month (MW July 8). The Action Plan called for the food and advertising industries to take action over all promotion of junk food to children in the next two years or face tougher action.

The FSA’s stance on television advertising to children is informed by last year’s Hasting’s Report, which concluded that there is a link between food promotion and the choices that children make (MW October 2, 2003).

It has called on Ofcom to tighten advertising codes of practice and says that it will review the situation after a year. However, it is understood that Ofcom wants the FSA to pinpoint which foods are causing the problems before it carries out a consultation on tightening the codes.

The FSA supports the idea that some foods are healthier than others for children, rather than the food industry’s claims that there is no such thing as bad food, just bad diets.

The FSA believes that products with a high fat, sugar and salt content are not as healthy and should not be endorsed by celebrities.

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