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Food and Beverage Industry Takes A Hit

December 12, 2007 | By More

Leading companies in the European food and beverage industry said Tuesday that they would voluntarily change their policies on advertising for children by the end of next year, setting standards on nutritional content to encourage more healthful lifestyles.

The move followed recent calls by the European Union for the food industry to use commercial communications to support parents in making the right diet and lifestyle choices for their children, the 11 companies said in a joint statement.

They agreed not to advertise food and beverages on television programs, Web sites or in print media where children under age 12 could be considered a target audience, except for products that met specific nutrition criteria.

They also agreed not to engage in any commercial communications related to food and beverages in primary schools, except where specifically requested by or agreed to with the school administration for educational purposes, the statement said.

The companies, which together account for around two-thirds of cash spent each year on food and beverage advertising in the EU, said they would do this by the end of 2008.

The companies are Coca-Cola, Groupe Danone, Burger King, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Ferrero and Unilever. They agreed to publish policy commitments on advertising to children on a special Web site during the next 12 months.

The EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, who has supported self-regulation efforts, has labeled obesity the greatest health threat facing the European Union, with obesity in children a particular area of concern.

Obesity has more than tripled in many EU countries since the 1980s, the World Health Organization has reported, while obesity-related illnesses account for up to 7 percent of EU health care costs.

EU attacks Italy over TV ads

The European Commission has begun legal action against Italy for allowing too much TV advertising, Reuters reported Tuesday from Brussels.

The European Union limits television advertising to 12 minutes an hour. The commission said Italian legislation for penalizing breaches of the advertising rules was too weak.

Category: Food

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