NEW DELHI: Amid concerns over rising childhood obesity, the consumer affairs ministry is considering a proposal to curb advertisements of junk foods targeted at children under new guidelines on ‘misleading ads’ to be released soon, a senior official said on Monday.
A suggestion in this regard was made by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in a recent meeting where the draft guidelines on ‘misleading advertisements’ were discussed in detail.
“We have received several suggestions from the WCD ministry on advertisements on junk foods targeted at children. We are examining those suggestions,” the official from the consumer affairs ministry told PTI.
Stopping junk food ads during children’s programs, promotion of correct health narrative in advertisements and specifying nutritional facts of junk foods are some of the suggestions that the WCD ministry has made, the official added.
The WCD ministry has also cited figures from the National Family Health Survey that show rising obesity among children in the country.
Further, the consumer affairs ministry official said the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has also come out with regulations on display of nutritional facts on food labels for pre-packaged foods.
That apart, the government’s think-tank Niti Aayog in its 2021-22 annual report has said India can take actions such as taxation of foods high in sugar, fat and salt, and front-of-the-pack labelling to tackle rising obesity in the population.
The final consultation with the concerned ministries and stakeholders on the draft of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2021 has been completed.
“A final call on including the provisions related to ‘advertisements targeted at children’ in the final guidelines needs to be taken,” the official added.