Junk food ads barred from British kids' TV

Nov. 17, 2006 at 3:13 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Junk food ads during children's television programming in Britain will be banned under new rules announced by the country's broadcasting regulator.

The Office of Communication's rule affects commercials for food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar, the London Telegraph said Friday. Officials said the measures, designed to help address Britain's obesity crisis, will reduce children's exposure to junk food ads by 41 percent, and cost broadcasters up to $74 million.

The rule, pending final approval, bans junk food advertising during children's programs and on children's television channels.

It also affects programs not normally considered child's fare -- "The Simpsons," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Friends" -- because they are watched by a large number of under-16 viewers. The package would curb the content of ads targeted at primary school children.

Characters belonging to the food brands, such as Tony the Tiger, would not be affected, regulators said. Also the rules exempt brand advertising, as long as no "unhealthy" food is show.

The rule would be effective at the end of January 2007.

Melanie Leech, Food and Drink Federation director, said her organization has "strong concerns that the proposed regulations are over the top."

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