Thanks be to cheeses ban is lifted
There was grate news for Ireland’s cheesemakers who got their whey this morning when the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) confirmed that when it comes to advertising cheeses on television, it has decided to let it brie.
Last March, the State’s broadcasting watchdog published a draft advertising code that proposed banning cheese advertising from children’s television because of its high fat content.
“You gouda be kidding,” was the response from the general public and the dairy farming lobby who feared the ban might be a feta accompli. The howls of outrage appear to have been heeded by the authority, however, which this morning published its revised code and exempted all cheese from the ban.
The authority said it had followed the Department of Health’s recommendation and exempted cheese from a new advertising system that is to come into effect in the middle of next year.
Under the new code, all commercial communications for food and drink that are deemed to be high in fat, sugar and salt will not be permitted in children’s programmes.
Restrictions to such foods will also apply to commercial adverts that are broadcast outside of children’s programmes but are directed at children. Ads will not be able to include celebrities or sports stars or cartoon characters.
Although cheese ads will be broadcast, they will have to include an on-screen message indicating the recommended maximum daily consumption limit.
BAI chief executive Michael O’Keeffe said cheese had been taken out of the nutrient profiling model because of “the health benefits and the economic and cultural significance of cheese in an Irish context”.
The big cheese at the Department of Communications, Pat Rabbitte, welcomed the decision. “This is a commonsense decision from the BAI and demonstrates that the consultation process has worked well,” the Minister said.
Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), the Ibec group that represents the food sector, also welcomed the lifting of the ban, but said the newly published advertising code was based on flawed science and would have little impact on childhood obesity rates.
"The nutrition model in the code is simply copy and pasted from the UK, without any reference to valuable Irish research on the subject,” head of consumer foods Shane Dempsey said.
"The UK system is unscientific, out-of-date and based on the concept of a 100g measure rather than on the actual amount people eat. This means that foods such as dairy and cereal products, which are vitally important to Irish children's diets, are classified as unhealthy."