AFGC welcomes ACMA support for advertising initiative

Posted by Isobel Drake on 3rd September 2009

The media watchdog’s decision not to ban food and beverage advertising under new children’s TV standards has been welcomed by the nation’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

In its report on revised Children’s Television Standards released on Tuesday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) acknowledged the introduction of an industry code that encourages the advertising of only healthy food to children.

AFGC developed the self-regulation scheme, the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, which came into effect on January 1 2009. As part of the initiative, 16 leading food and beverage manufacturers have committed not to advertise to children, unless their products promote healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle consistent with scientific standards or Australian standards.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said industry acknowledged the tightening up of the usage of popular personalities, cartoons and program and movie characters during Children’s (C) programming.

“We will work with ACMA to ensure that industry understands the ramifications of the revised code,” Ms Carnell said. “It’s encouraging to see that ACMA has recognised the food industry’s self-regulation approach, which has proved to be successful in reducing the amount of advertising of certain foods to children in all forms of media, including during children’s television.”

The ACMA decision closely followed the release of a report from the Preventative Health Taskforce which recommended a ban on junk food advertising on television prior to 9pm. They believed a phase out over the course of four years was appropriate, with industry self-regulation monitored over that time to detect any shortfalls.

“The health of all Australians is vital, especially children,” Ms Carnell added. “That’s why our industry has responded to community concern about advertising products that are high in fat, sugar or salt during children’s television programs.”

“We believe that industry has a role to advertise healthy food and active lifestyles to children and we welcome government working with us in monitoring this important initiative.”