MPs have urged the Government to clear up the confusion surrounding
whether its proposed Foods Standards Agency will regulate food
An all-party Commons committee, which is examining the Government’s
plans, has demanded that ministers spell out their strategy more
clearly. Its intervention is a boost for the Advertising Association,
which is lobbying against the idea that the new watchdog should control
ads (Campaign, 5 March).
In a report, the Food Standards Committee said there was ’a potential
hole’ in the agency’s remit because the word ’advertising’ did not
appear in ministers’ plans.
’We would like the Government to explain what role in food advertising
the agency will have,’ it said.
The MPs recommended that the agency should ’provide expert advice to the
Advertising Standards Authority and other relevant bodies’.
Such a policy would leave the final decision on food ads to the ASA, the
Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority, in line with
the AA’s wishes.
The Commons committee also addressed the ad industry’s concern that the
agency might run ’healthy eating’ campaigns urging consumers to shun
It agreed there was a danger of duplicating the work of the Department
of Health and the Health Education Authority, and said that ministers
had not adequately thought through their plans.
Tessa Jowell, the Minister for Public Health, told MPs she saw the
agency’s function as being ’principally health protection rather than