Ofcom invites junk-food ad proposals

The advertising and food industries have been given one last chance to avoid severe curbs on junk-food commercials aimed at children.

Ofcom has invited the industries to produce their own proposals to restrict junk-food ads before it makes a final decision on a new code this summer.

It has published plans to curb ads for junk food and soft drinks, which stop short of a total ban but could still cost broadcasters up to £91 million a year in lost revenue.

Ofcom's report calls for a ban on celebrities and film and cartoon characters in ads aimed at children under ten.

It set out three scheduling options - a ban on junk-food ads and sponsorship for all shows made for children and those of "particular appeal" to under-nines; a ban on all food and drink ads and sponsorship for the same shows; or a limit on the volume of food and drink ads when children are likely to be watching.

Jeremy Preston, the director of the Food Advertising Unit, said: "We must remember advertising is just part of a wider issue. Any restrictions need to be proportionate."

Ofcom will consult on its proposals until June.