Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fatty Free Market Advertising & Europe

Today's International Herald Tribune reports that European governments are starting to crack down on junk food advertising aimed at children:

At a time when obesity and related illnesses are becoming epidemic among Europe's children, governments are starting to come down hard on the marketing and advertising of junk food across Europe. Until now, nutritional food labeling in Europe has been in many ways less regulated than in the United States, allowing for a bonanza in wild and often misleading claims.

But that is changing - and drastically. Fed up with products like X-Men 2 cereal being marketed as health food, many European countries are enacting and debating a wide range of strict laws and regulations to reel in the fast food and junk food industries.

These measures range from simple requirements for more accurate and customer-friendly labeling to far more radical plans: mandating that nonnutritious foods be branded with a red stop light; requiring health warnings on junk foods like those on cigarettes; and banning food advertising that is aimed at children from television altogether.

In the United States, with its powerful food industry lobby, regulators have rejected such methods as overzealous.

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