From: EurActive
Published June 3, 2012 10:18 AM

European Parliament considers curbing food ads aimed at the young

The European Parliament has renewed calls to curb food and beverage advertising aimed at children and young people, with some MEPs even calling for a total ban on beer commercials aimed at youth. But it's not necessary, says the industry, "We can regulate ourselves".

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The European Parliament in a resolution last week (22 May) called on the EU Commission to analyse "whether stricter rules are needed regarding advertising aimed at children and young people," who are considered more vulnerable than other consumer groups.

Children and young people "are more sensitive to advertising for food with high fat, salt and sugar content," the Parliament resolution says, underlining that this particular age group "increasingly suffer the consequences of sedentariness and obesity".

In the Parliament's firing line are practices described as "aggressive or misleading TV and online advertising" aimed at children and adolescents. The resolution also recommended educational campaigns on diet and health aimed at children.

At issue is whether the food and beverage industry can effectively regulate its own advertising practices.

But Sam Rowe, spokeswoman for UNESDA, the European non-alcoholic beverages association, says lawmakers should not worry. "The European Parliament is trying to make companies be responsible. And we fully support that. We think it's important to be responsible in your marketing and consumer outreach," said Rowe, who speaks on behalf of companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the Orangina Schweppes Group, Nestlé Waters, Danone and Red Bull.

"We think self-regulation works effectively and quickly," she added.

UNESDA members, she said, are aware of their appeal to young people and children and have already committed in 2006 to refrain from advertising to children under 12 on TV, print, online or social media.

Young person eating fast food via Shutterstock.

Read more at EurActive.com.

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