Cheese to get more airtime after authority U-turn

New BAI code bans promotion of certain products during children’s programming

The advertising of foods considered to be high in fat, salt and sugar during programmes aimed at children is to be prohibited under new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland guidelines.

The advertising of foods considered to be high in fat, salt and sugar during programmes aimed at children is to be prohibited under new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland guidelines.

Tue, Jun 4, 2013, 21:48

The advertising of foods considered to be high in fat, salt and sugar during programmes aimed at children is to be prohibited under new guidelines published today by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The new regulations will impact on products sponsoring broadcasts and also aim to limit the amount of advertising time given to such products during programmes aired after 6pm.

The code states that no more than 25 per cent of sold advertising time after 6pm may be given over to foods considered to be high in fat, salt and sugar.

The authority said advertisements for such products may no longer feature celebrities or sports personalities, characters or personalities from cinema releases, health or nutrition claims or promotional offers.

Advertisers will have to use a nutrient profiling model to determine whether a food should be classified as being high in fat, salt and sugar.

“This model assesses the nutrients contained in a food to determine whether they are healthier or less healthy,” the authority said. “Less healthy food will be subject to the rules and restrictions contained in the revised codes.”

Advertisers will in future be required to provide a signed certificate to broadcasters stating the food product or service they are seeking to advertise is not a food considered to be high in fat, salt and sugar.

Revised codes

The revised codes come into effect from September 2nd and will apply to television and radio broadcasts.

Cheese had been expected to come under the regulation, but the authority said it had been granted an exemption on the recommendation of the Department of Health.

Authority chief executive Michael O’Keeffe acknowledged there had been a significant amount of lobbying on the proposed inclusion of cheese in the code. He told RTÉ that some of the health benefits of cheese had been overlooked in the debate on the new regulations.

Under the code, commercials for cheese products broadcast during children’s programming will have to carry a message detailing the recommended maximum daily consumption for cheese. The exemption will not apply to cheese-heavy products such as pizza, the authority said.

The Irish Farmers’ Association welcomed the exemption and said it had made clear that the plan to treat cheese in the same way as confectionery, crisps or sugary soft drinks was based on “flawed methodology and fundamentally wrong”.

The BAI said the codes applied to broadcasters within the jurisdiction of Ireland but not to “other services commonly received in this State, but licensed in the United Kingdom or other jurisdictions”.