Total ban on online junk food adverts proposed

Online adverts containing food high in fat, sugar and salt could be banned under new Government proposals.

A new consultation from the Department of Health and Social Care will run for six weeks to try and understand the impact of introducing a total ban on advertising junk food online.

It comes as the Government continues its crackdown on obesity in a campaign that was launched by Boris Johnson following his battle with coronavirus which prompted him to admit he was 'too fat' when he was hospitalised.

The Prime Minister launched the 'better health' strategy in July and urged the nation to follow his lead. The government previously unveiled plans to ban junk food adverts on TV before a 9pm watershed. 

Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the six week consultation on a total ban that would include everything from promotional emails to Google adverts with only factual information allowed on junk food companies’ websites. 

However, the scope of the new plans were labelled 'insane' by one think tank, who warned foods such as avocados, marmite, mustard and hummus could be affected, alongside fish and chips, and curry.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: 'I am determined to help parents, children and families in the UK make healthier choices about what they eat.

'We know as children spend more time online, parents want to be reassured they are not being exposed to adverts promoting unhealthy foods, which can affect eating habits for life.

'This will be a world-leading measure to tackle the obesity challenges we face now but it will also address a problem that will only become more prominent in the future.'

Research has found one in three children leave primary school overweight, or obese, and almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity. It also found children are exposed to 15 billion adverts for products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) every year.  

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, said: 'It's vital we build on the world leading obesity measures announced in July to ensure our efforts to tackle childhood obesity have the greatest impact.

'We have already committed to restricting HFSS adverts on television before 9pm. But we also need to go further and address how children can be influenced online, where they are spending more and more of their time.

'This is part of a package of measures to help families. We want to support people of all ages to make healthier choices.'

Source: Daily Mail