Statement on BAI Children's Code

30 Mar, 2012. safefood welcome the launch of the new draft Children’s Commercial Communications Code. While the restriction and measures adopted in the Code will make strong inroads towards the type and volume of unhealthy foods that are currently being advertised to children, they do not go far enough for the protection of children’s health.

 
The adoption of the nutrient profiling model is to be welcomed, as this will mean that foods that can be advertised during children’s programming have been restricted based on their nutritional profile. Unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) can no longer be advertised during children’s programming.
 
However, safefood is concerned that the adoption of the measure which restricts advertising of these foods to no more than 25% of advertising time falls short of the need to restrict advertising to children between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. Given the high numbers of children watching prime time television, children are still exposed and need protection after the ‘traditional hours’ of children programming. It is important to note that over half of Irish children interviewed in the review of the Code said they watched children’s programmes without parental supervision. In the UK where restrictions have been in place up to 7pm, food and drink advertising moved to adult airtime.
 
safefood has been a proactive participant in the development of the Children’s Commercial Communications Code from the very outset and will continue to engage with the consultation. Over the next eight week consultation period, safefood will be assessing in particular whether the 25% cap is a sufficient measure.
 

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safefood participated with a number of other agencies* as a member of the Expert Working Group (EWG) in making recommendations to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Public Consultation on the advertising of food and drink to children. In making recommendations, the Group was asked to review the evidence for public health nutrition issues affecting children; assess the usefulness of a practical but scientifically-valid “tool” which would enable both the BAI and Food Industry assess the suitability of foods and drinks for advertising to children; and make recommendations in light of their work.
 
*The Department of Health & Children, the Health Service Executive, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland