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UK: Government steps into obesity row - report

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The government may intervene in the UK obesity issue, much to the chagrin of the country's food and drink industry. In an interview with The Guardian, Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, said she will ask Ofcom, the television regulator to revise the current code on food and drink advertisements targeted at children.

Jowell described the current code as "inadequate" to the newspaper. The food and drink industry rejected the proposal, arguing that a rigorously-adhered to code was already in place. A spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation told The Guardian: "There is already a strict code in existence which the food and drink industry has an exemplary record of obeying."

The Food Standards Agency will issue recommendations on the subject next year. It is currently consulting on what recommendations to make. One option is to place an outright ban on advertising by junk food and soft drinks companies aimed at children. Jowell would not rule out a ban, telling The Guardian that if the food and drinks industry failed to keep public interest a priority, then the government had a "protective responsibility" to protect children from forces beyond their control.


Sectors: Soft drinks

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