Government rejects blocks on food ads that target children

The Government is to reject proposals by its top food expert to ban food advertising aimed at children under 12.

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

ad ban.

’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’.

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