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Parents not fooled by misleading campaign: AFGC

20 November, 2009

An awards campaign by a parents group is highly misleading as it fails to mention the food and grocery manufacturing industry’s efforts to improve food products and reduce advertising to children, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said.

The annual Fame and Shame Awards from The Parents Jury, which were announced this week, are a shameless attempt to discredit the industry and the recent success it has achieved, especially in marketing food and beverage products to children, according to AFGC Deputy Chief Executive Dr Geoffrey Annison.

“Parents aren’t easily fooled by this annual propaganda – instead they should be reminded about the important steps industry is taking to make products healthier and to reduce advertising to children in all forms of media,” Dr Annison said.

Under AFGC’s Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, 16 leading food and beverage manufacturers – including several companies featured in the parents awards – have committed not to advertise to children, unless they promoted healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle consistent with scientific standards.

As part of the AFGC initiative, several companies have already reduced the amount of sugar and artificial colours in foods consumed by children.  Examples of this include a range of popular snack food products including with iconic brands Milo and Peters Ice-creams.

“Australian food manufacturers have made a strong commitment to providing healthy choices for people, including children – parents groups’ should be recognising this important progress and applauding industry’s efforts,” Dr Annison said.

Through AFGC’s successful initiative which has been running since January this year, children will no longer be subjected to advertising for snacks, chips, softdrinks and chocolates on children’s television and other media, including posters in school canteens and company internet sites.

“We believe that industry has a role to advertise healthy food and active lifestyles to children and we welcome government working with us in monitoring this important initiative,” Dr Annison said.

Dr Annison said the health of all Australians is vital, especially children and that is why industry has responded to community concern about advertising products that are high in fat, sugar or salt during children’s television programs.

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Source: AFGC

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