Experts Suggest A Junk Food Advertising Ban In India

The UK is on its way to ban junk food advertising before 9 PM reports Down To Earth. They also got in touch with a few experts who feel that India should also follow suit. Recently, the municipal corporation in Mumbai had banned junk food stalls in the vicinity of all schools. The government in the UK is on its way to consult its people on various ways so that the adverts of food containing high levels of sugar, salt and fat. The government also plans to put a ban to online adverts as well.

Banning Junk Food Ads

“The media is shaping body image. TV, phones and computers have taken over playgrounds and safe spaces for kids. India is way behind the world in instituting a policy or guideline to either broadcasters, manufacturers or advertising agencies. While most children’s TV channels do follow the international norms, India is still a single-TV home market,” Sashwati Banerjee, senior advisor, Sesame Workshop India Trust told Down To Earth.

Experts Suggest A Junk Food Advertising Ban In India

“UK banned ads on kids’ channels in 2007 and took 12 years to realise that there is a need to take additional steps like a watershed period and regulate ads in outer spaces. India is more than a decade behind in realising, but we should take lessons countries like UK,” said Sonal Dhingra, deputy program manager, food safety and toxins, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) while speaking to the publication. Similarly in India, the ads on kids’ channel was banned by the Food and Beverage Alliance of India. “This was not a conclusive move as kids don’t just watch kids’ channels. It’s time to move beyond self-regulation and voluntary measures taken by the industry,” she added.

Further, the report says that the matter of kids watching junk food ads was also taken up at the National Conclave on Food which was conducted by the CSE. Here, the experts suggested that could regulate the content showed in these ads, set the age group which shouldn’t be watching these ads and set a time deadline like that of the UK’s 9 PM.  Shweta Khandelwal, head, nutrition research, Public Health Foundation of India told Down to Earth that, “An average young person views more than 40,000 television ads per year. Young people are also exposed to promotional messages through the internet, magazines, and video games. This avalanche of marketing persuades children to prefer, request, and consume calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food and has triggered urgent calls for change.”