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Germany censors junk food ads

Towards a stop to commercials for chips, chocolate and hyper-sugar, fatty or salty snacks? /Video

Is a new prohibitionist wind blowing in Europe? It seems so. In fact, after the wave of controversy over anti-alcohol labels, the initiative of Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) now comes from Germany who announced on Monday a bill that would largely limit the advertising of unhealthy foods .

On the one hand, the draft stipulates that advertising of food with an excessive content of sugar, fat and salt, specifically aimed at children, will no longer be permitted "in all media relevant to children". This also includes social media and influencers, Özdemir said. The second part of the proposal implies that in the daily time period between 6 and 23, it will no longer be able to air any advertising of these products that is more general and not specifically designed for children, for example in the context of family programs or sportsmen. The reason is that in this time slot the children would also be watching, i.e. they would be "co-routed".

According to the minister, minors see an average of 15 commercials a day which direct them towards "sugar bombs and salty snacks". Özdemir says he is "far from a fanatic about the ban", but there is a need for "clear rules", he says, hoping that with the bans, food manufacturers will change their recipes. According to government data, around 15% of children between 3 and 17 years of age in Germany are overweight and almost 6% are fat.

The minister refers to a wording contained in the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. “Advertising to children for foods high in sugar, fat and salt should no longer be allowed in under-14s programs and formats in the future. Previous voluntary commitments made by companies have failed to protect children who eat twice as much snacks and sweets as is healthy for them".

According to the head of the ministry, the nutritional recommendations of the World Health Organization will be decisive for the differentiation between healthy and unhealthy products. He underlined that there will still be transitional periods and spoke of a two-year period. "Euro 24 will therefore remain unaffected," he said, referring to next year's European Football Championship in Germany.

While the Greens parliamentary group praised the plan, the FDP announced its opposition. "Federal Agriculture Minister Özdemir seems to be pursuing the goal of turning every minor into an underage citizen - underlines agricultural policy spokesman Gero Hocker -. In doing so, he remains quite faithful to his party's proposals, but will not find a majority at all inside the coalition".

In the video below, the minister illustrates his plan (on the Settings wheel by clicking Automatic translation it is possible to view the subtitles in the desired language).

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EFA News - European Food Agency