UK government to announce ‘junk food’ ad ban

The U.K. will ban “junk food” advertising online and on television before 9 p.m., ministers are expected to announce to the House of Commons Thursday, according to multiple outlets.

The ban, which is intended to tackle obesity, will include many exceptions, the Telegraph reported. Only paid-for online advertising will be banned, for instance. Companies affected will still be allowed to have social media pages and websites. Small businesses will also be exempted, as will audio advertising, the Times reports, such as on radio and podcasts.

Companies selling “junk food” will also be allowed to advertise on television before 9 p.m. as long as they do not show the banned products.

Foods affected will be those high in fat, sugar, or salt content, with the Times reporting “rules will apply to soft drinks, cakes, chocolate, ice cream, pastries, biscuits, milkshakes, breakfast cereals, pizza, ready meals, crisps, chips, and other breaded and battered meals.” Some foods high in fat or sugar will be spared from the ban, including olive oil, honey, avocados, and Marmite.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his intention to create an advertising ban on unhealthy foods last summer as part of his strategy to tackle obesity, inspired in part by his own stint in hospital with COVID-19, during which time he says he was “way overweight.”

The Advertising Standards Authority is expected to be responsible for enforcing the plan.

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