A U.K.-based public interest charity has filed 54 separate complaints with
the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) contending that the subject
companies, including Cadbury and Pringles, are promoting food products
high in sugars, fat or salt to children online. Described by the Children’s Food
Campaign (CFC) as a “super complaint,” the case reflects the findings of a
report the charity released in December 2011 claiming that food advertisers
use brand characters, animations, games, competitions, and videos online and
through social media to heavily market junk food to children. It calls for the
U.K. government to close a loophole allowing ads for products that cannot be
aired during children’s programming to be freely promoted online.

According to CFC spokesperson Malcolm Clark, youth marketing standards
applicable to TV should be matched online. The existing code apparently
states, “marketing communications must not condone or encourage poor
nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children.”

When CFC corresponded with Minister for Culture, Communications and
Creative Industries Ed Vaizey about its report, he purportedly indicated that
the ASA will take concerns over irresponsible food advertising seriously and
that the advertising industry body, established to apply voluntary codes of
practice and avoid regulation, encourages complaints when advertising rules
are believed to have been broken. CFC hopes to force the oversight body to
define vague terms in its standards. See Sustainweb.org, Foodnavigator.com,
The Telegraph, Channel 4 News, February 9, 2012.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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