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Friday 19 January 2018

Cheese adverts escape children's TV ban

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

CHEESE has won a reprieve -- meaning advertisements for it will not be banned during children's television programmes.

But ads for crisps, biscuits, pizza, butter, mayonnaise, soft drinks, most breakfast cereals, burgers and chips will be banned during children's TV hours, and restricted the rest of the time.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced tough advertising controls on foods high in fat, sugar or salt.

However, it said that following a recommendation from the Department of Health, cheese will be exempted from the ban.

Instead, adverts for cheese will have to include a message showing the recommended daily consumption limit for cheese -- which is one matchbox-sized portion of 28g.

As well as the ban during children's TV hours, ads outside of these times aimed at youngsters will not be allowed to feature celebrities, sports stars or cartoon characters such as Peppa Pig.

They will also be banned from including any health or nutrition claims or promotional offers.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte hailed as "commonsense" the decision to exempt cheese from the ad ban.

Safefood, which promotes healthy eating, said it hoped "that no future exemptions to these rules will be made".


Ibec's food industry division said the ad restrictions were based on an unscientific UK nutritional model and would have little impact on childhood obesity rates.

"The UK system is unscientific and based on the concept of a 100g measure rather than on the actual amounts people eat. This means foods such as dairy and cereal products, which are vitally important to Irish children's diets, are classified as unhealthy," said Ibec's Shane Dempsey.

The dairy industry had lobbied hard for cheese to be exempted, arguing it could hit children's already low calcium intake and damage the reputation of the Irish food industry.

The National Dairy Council welcomed the exemption.

The Irish Farmers' Association said studies showed that growing teenage obesity was not linked to cheese consumption.

The new restrictions on advertising for Irish-based TV and radio stations will come into force next July.

Irish Independent

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