Be responsible, food companies urged June 2011 Obesity Pride

Be responsible, food companies urged

Samantha Rina
Monday, June 06, 2011

FOOD companies are urged to market products responsibly and be mindful of increasing non-communicable diseases which are a national issue.

The call from the Consumer Council of Fiji comes in the wake of the Minister for Health's announcement on Thursday that laws were being revised on the advertising of junk food in the media.

Quoting the findings of a recent study by the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases, council chief executive Premila Kumar said children and adolescents in Fiji were heavily exposed to junk food advertisements and promotions especially on television.

"Food companies should exercise social responsibility in the marketing of food to children. The council hopes that the Ministry of Health will step up efforts to curb the irresponsible marketing of unhealthy foods in the country," she said.

As the council lobbies for marketing controls on unhealthy foods to children, Mrs Kumar said many consumers were 'hooked' to unhealthy processed foods from an early age.

"The marketing of foods high in salt and sugar to children in Fiji has increased as advances in advertising technologies such as television, the Internet and modern billboards."

Furthermore, children in Fiji are now more exposed to junk food and unhealthy eating habits with the increase in the number of fast food outlets in the country. Fast food outlets are not only key agents in developing bad eating habits among children but manufacturers and distributors of packaged food items are equally responsible. The council is aware of many advertisements on food that feature children and specifically target the younger generation. These range from noodles to sweet biscuits," she said.


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