Bid to restrict junk food ads blockedParliamentary bill blocked by critics

26 April 2008

Chip on fork

A bid to tackle growing obesity by tougher controls on advertising junk food to children has been blocked by Tory backbench critics in the Commons.

Labour former consumer affairs minister Nigel Griffiths called for a 9pm watershed on the television advertising of ‘less healthy’ food and drink.

His Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill would also ban the targeting of children by the ‘non-broadcast media’ including through video, text messages and mailings.

Obesity

But Tory opponents, including former minister Christopher Chope, said the change would do little if anything to tackle obesity and insisted the responsibility for what children ate rested with parents.

Opponent Philip Davies (Con, Shipley) was still speaking when time ran out and the measure now stands virtually no chance of progressing.

Which? fully backs the bill and our research shows that 84% of people think the government should do more to control the way unhealthy foods are marketed to children.

Unhealthy foods

Which? food campaigner Colin Walker said: ‘Strong support from the public on this issue shows the climate is right for change. 

'Recent Which? research shows 84% of people think the government should do more to control the way unhealthy foods are marketed to children, and we're determined to make that happen.

'We're encouraged by the fact that over 210 MPs signed the EDM (Early Day Motion) in support of the Bill, and we're looking forward to taking this campaign to new levels in the coming months.

'Childhood obesity is not something that will disappear overnight but with positive steps to tackle all the factors involved, including the marketing of unhealthy food, we can help to protect future generations.'