Ofcom details HFSS ads review

LONDON - Ofcom's forthcoming review of rules banning high fat, salt or sugar food advertising to children is to consider whether advertisers are circumventing the rules.

The communications regulator said its review, initially planned for the autumn, but brought forward to July at the request of the Department of Health, would centre around five key areas. Current Ofcom rules prohibit HFSS advertising around TV shows aimed at under-16s.

Among the five areas to be probed, Ofcom will consider whether advertisers are evading the spirit of the restrictions, by airing advertising and sponsorship in the names of brands commonly associated with HFSS foods around shows aimed at children.

In addition, it will consider whether advertisers have increased the amount of HFSS advertising and sponsorship in periods outside children's airtime, at times when significant numbers of children may be watching television.

Ofcom's review will also look at whether scheduling restrictions are achieving the objective of reducing significantly the number of HFSS product advertising impacts among children aged four to 15.

The organisation will also look at the impact on broadcasters and whether revised content rules are being implemented as intended.

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