Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Europe bans kiddie junk food commercials?

Well…kind of. Actually a consortium of the world’s largest food makers have voluntarily, in response to pending action by the EU commission, agreed to stop advertising unhealthy food during children’s television programs by the end of next year throughout Europe. Seriously, no joke. That means no more Coco Crispies or Count Chocula ads during Power Rangers.

In a joint statement 11 companies, which together account for more than 2/3 of cash spent each year on food and beverage advertising in the EU, agreed to stop advertising unhealthy food and beverages on television programs, Web sites or in print media where children under age 12 could be considered a target audience.

They also agreed not to engage in any commercial communications related to food and beverages in primary schools, unless part of a specifically requested educational program.

These are no small-fry companies either. They include Coca-Cola, Groupe Danone (Danon), Burger King, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Ferrero and Unilever.

At some point in the next year the companies will set a “high nutritional hurdle” which foods will have to meet in order to be advertised during children’s programming.

It’s important to point out that this new policy will apply only to EUROPE, because that is where the regulatory threat was coming from. Since there’s no such regulatory threat in the US, fat American toddlers will still be transfixed by a magical little leprechaun running off with their lucky charms. USA! USA!

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