Advertisers decry Canada’s proposed restrictions on marketing food to kids

Advertisers decry Canada’s proposed restrictions on marketing food to kids

The Globe and Mail

SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON

A group representing Canadian advertisers is criticizing proposed restrictions on marketing food and beverages to children, saying that suggested changes to policy go too far.

Health Canada’s consultations on how it should approach restricting advertising “unhealthy food and beverages” to kids began in June and concluded this week. In its submission under the consultations, the Association of Canadian Advertisers said the proposals are “significantly overbroad” and “should be reconsidered from the ground up.”

Health Canada’s proposed policy changes would allow advertising of “healthy” foods including “vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods … when processed or prepared with no added sodium, sugars or fat” with a full list of foods exempt from restrictions to be provided later.

It asked for comment on two options for restricted-food ads: those for foods with more than approximately 5 per cent of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars or sodium; or a slightly more lax restriction on foods with more than 15 per cent of those daily values. Either option would restrict items such as regular soda, ice cream, candies, most sugar-sweetened cereals, cheese and juice. The broader option would also restrict ads for foods such as granola bars, potato chips, French fries, and calorie-reduced cheese. The proposal also suggested restricting ads for beverages with sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.

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