NFA calls for government review of food advertising after McLibel ruling

Press Release

Thursday 17th July 1997

National Food Alliance

5-11 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BH
Phone: 0171 628 2442
Fax: 0171 628 9329

National Food Alliance
The National Food Alliance has today called on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith MP, to review the regulation of TV advertising to children by the Independent Television Committee (ITC) and to consider a ban on food advertising directed at children, particularly pre-school children. The NFA's call for tougher rules on advertising to children comes after the judge in the 'McLibel' trial ruled that McDonald's advertising and marketing exploits susceptible children and encourages them to pester their parents.

In its letter to the National Heritage Secretary, the NFA says "Our member organisations, as well as many parents and those concerned with child welfare, are very unhappy that any company or type of advertising or promotion should exploit children in this way."

Says NFA co-ordinator, Jeanette Longfield: "Advertising regulation is fundamentally flawed if it permits the systematic exploitation of children. The fact that the judge in the 'McLibel' trial has ruled that advertisements which were cleared for broadcast, do exploit susceptible children suggests that the current code is not adequately enforced, or that the code is inadequate to protect children from such exploitation. Either way there needs to be a considered review of the regulation of all advertising to children, not just that for McDonald's."

Notes for Editors:

1. Last year an international survey by Consumers International ('A Spoonful of Sugar') found that the UK had the highest level of advertising during children's programmes of the nine European countries taking part in the survey and that McDonald's was the most heavily advertised product. Some countries, such as Norway and Sweden, do not permit advertising to children under the age of 12, other European countries have rules which do more than the UK to limit the amount of advertising to children, while Australia and Ireland do not allow advertising during programmes for pre-school children.

2. A MORI poll commissioned by the NFA in 1996 found that 65% of parents with children under 16, want to see tougher restrictions on advertising of foods and soft drinks to children.

For further information: Jeanette Longfield / Peta Cottee 0171 628 2442 Dr Mike Rayner 01865 224879

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