Dairy industry rubbishes 'junk food' ban

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrient profiling Nutrition

Dairy industry players have called for a reassessment of how their
products are perceived under the UK's nutrient profiling system,
ahead of a government debate next month on extending advertising
restrictions based on the scheme.

Nigel Griffiths, a Member of the country's Parliament (MP), is pushing for a bill that would extend restrictions on advertising 'junk food', which include some dairy products, by preventing the ads from being aired before 9pm. Industry body Dairy UK told the Westminster Forum, a system for government and business to discuss concerns, that it believes existing advertising bans designed to cut down on "junk food" were ineffective and should not be extended. Dairy UK says that the current definition of "junk food" products banned under the ad restrictions, which are based on the Food Standards Agency (FSA's) Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM), are inaccurate and require re-examination. The claims come as the dairy industry continues to promote its products as a vital part of a healthy diet to offset concerns over the fat content of some cheeses and yoghurts. The industry said it was particularly concerned at the inclusion of some milk, yoghurts and cheese goods under the definition, despite them containing a number of proteins and nutrients required in a balanced diet. Nutrient profiling ​ Nutrient profiling is defined as the science by which foods are rated according to their nutritional composition. Much attention has been given to the term in the last couple of years, partly since the new European nutrition and health claims regulations require that only foods with favourable nutrient profiles should be allowed to make claims. Government concerns ​ Ed Komorowski, Dairy UK's technical director said that the industry did accept that the obesity within the UK is reaching epidemic proportions and was ready to cooperate with government in order to find a solution. "We welcomed the Foresight Report on Obesity, which identified that obesity was multi-factorial, and had hoped for a fresh look at the problem,"​ he stated. "However, the current ban on prime-time food adverts imposed by Ofcom, based on the NPM, has been a blunt and ineffective tool which should not be extended." ​ Komorowski claimed that the inclusion of some dairy goods in the ban was misguided, as children require high intakes of nutrients like calcium - particularly present in dairy products - to reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Dairy UK is also calling for amendments to the FSA's Eatwell plate system, which is said should focus on what products consumers should be eating rather than avoiding. Health experts ​ While the general health messages emanating from the dairy industry have been supported by health organisations, dietitians continue to argue that a balanced diet and moderate consumption was the best option to ensure health. This was the message from national health charity The British Heart Foundation, which stressed that no one type of food or beverage product alone could ensure a healthy diet.

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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