TV ads closer to showing red light labels for junk food

LONDON – TV advertising for junk food with high sugar, fat or salt content will have to display a red warning sign if government proposals to combat obesity are passed.

The proposals, expected to appear in the government's White Paper on public health later this year, will mean all food advertising and packaging would display a "traffic light" system depending on the nutritional content of the food.

The green symbol would indicate the food is healthy, the amber would mean there is some poor nutritional content and the red would warn consumers that the product contains either too much salt, sugar or fat.

Research has shown that 75% of adults and 20% of children in the UK are officially classed as overweight, and obesity levels are rising to such an extent that the nation could reach the epidemic proportions seen in the US.

The Health Select Committee's hard-hitting report on childhood obesity earlier this year called on the government to ban all junk food advertising on TV.

Food and advertising industries have strongly opposed calls for the ban, arguing that commercials are not the cause of Britain's so-called "obesity time bomb".

Ofcom, the communications watchdog, backed the industry's claims earlier this year saying an outright ban would be ineffective in tackling childhood obesity.

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