Cheese products given Irish advertising ban reprieve

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Cheese was given a reprieve following a recommendation from the Irish Department of Health (Photo copyright: ShardsOfBlue)
Cheese was given a reprieve following a recommendation from the Irish Department of Health (Photo copyright: ShardsOfBlue)

Related tags Milk Advertising Republic of ireland

Cheese has been exempted from a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) ban on the television and radio advertisement of food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar (HFFS) before the 9pm watershed.

Under the new BAI rules, the advertisement HFSS food and drink – including biscuits, cakes, confectionery and most breakfast cereals - will not be permitted until after 9pm on all radio and television channels regulated in the Republic of Ireland.

HFSS food and drink products will be determined using the newly approved Nutrient Profiling Model. The initially-proposed model, which is based on an existing British system, prohibited the advertisement of cheese to children.

Cheese products were, however, given a reprieve from the model following a recommendation from the Irish Department of Health. Instead, adverts for cheese will include an on-screen message indicating the recommended maximum daily consumption limit for cheese.

Health benefits

“The key area of the draft code which has now been amended is the removal of cheese from the nutrient profiling model,” ​said BAI CEO, Michael O’Keeffe.

“This was done on the basis that the pre-eminent health body in the State, the Department of Health, recommended this approach given the health benefits and the economic and cultural significance of cheese in an Irish context,” ​O’Keeffe added.

Earlier this year, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) called on the BAI to reassess its proposed ban on the advertisement of cheese, stating the product’s importance as a source of calcium.

FSAI chief specialist on public health and nutrition Dr Mary Flynn told at the time that banning the advertisement of cheese during daytime programmes would seriously hinder efforts to ensure children were getting their required dairy intake.

“Cheese is a very valuable food. It’s a preventer of osteoporosis and a good source of calcium. It just doesn’t make sense to cut it all out,”​ said Flynn.

Reprieve welcomed

The rules will come into effect on 1 July 2013.

The Irish National Dairy Council (NDC) has welcomed the BAI decision. Irish political party, Fine Gael, has also applauded the decision, calling it “the right one.”

“The benefits of cheese and other dairy products for young people are widely documented. With this in mind, the decision by the BAI not to ban the advertising of cheese before 9pm is the right one,”​ said Fine Gael’s Paudie Coffey.

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