The Government is to reject proposals by its top food expert to ban
food advertising aimed at children under 12.
An investigation into nutrition in schools, chaired by Professor Philip
James of the Rowatt Research Institute, has submitted wide-ranging
recommendations including an ad ban, strict controls over food sold near
school premises and preventing primary schools from selling sweets, some
snacks and soft drinks.
James’s report attacks the food industry for targeting children as young
as two years old and cites a McDonald’s campaign featuring Ronald
Tessa Jowell, the minister of public health, set up the inquiry after
Labour took power in May, raising the hopes of health pressure groups
that the Government might crack down on food ads.
Jowell is to meet James at the end of this month and, after putting his
report out for public consultation, will draw up a plan of action for
schools with David Blunkett, the Education and Employment Secretary.
However, ministers are said to be reluctant to endorse the call for an
’We do not intend to go down that route; there are other ways to tackle
the problem,’ one source said.
Jowell is in favour of outlawing tobacco advertising and is at the
centre of the row over the Government’s move to exempt Formula One from
the ban on sponsorship.
The decision to veto James’s recommendations reflects concern among
ministers, including Tony Blair, about Tory charges that Labour is
creating a ’nanny state’.