A strong warning was issued by Britain's prime minister to the food industry to curtail the advertising of the products that were not-so- healthy to children or face the risk of a total ban on the promotional ads that target minors.
In a broad address on improving public health, Tony Blair warned that in case of the voluntary regulations failing, the food industry would be forced to eliminate unhealthy food advertising to children in 2007. Speaking in Nottingham, he singled out the manufacturers of junk foods for criticism.
Now, and particularly where children are concerned, I have come to the conclusion we need to be tougher, more active in setting standards and enforcing them, he said.
He also cautioned that the National Health Service (NHS) would struggle to deal with health issues in the future unless individuals showed initiative in tackling problems of obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse, and urged Britons to take more responsibility for their health.
It is worth pausing for a moment to consider the consequences that inaction will bring. The economic burden of chronic disease could be vast, the PM said.
The executives of the advertising and food industry have proposed a package that would do away with cartoon characters and pop band trademarks targeting children below 11 years, and would restrict the advertisements to 30 seconds per hour on the television channels for children.
The TV channels have, however, expressed concerns about a potentially huge reduction in revenue in the field of advertising.
Government statistics showed that in England each year, approximately 9 million people ignore government- recommended drinking limits and that smoking is accountable for about 120,00 deaths while obesity is responsible for at least 9,000 premature casualities.