Turkish TV watchdog restricts junk food ads on children's programs

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published
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Turkey's top television watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has specified permissible criteria for commercials to be shown during children's TV programs, which will bring limitations on junk food ads in the country, with the aim to promote healthier eating habits.

The new regulations will divide ads into red, orange and green categories, which will include a list of foods that will be prohibited to be shown during TV programs specifically made for children, based on a guideline prepared by the health ministry, Anadolu Agency reported.

Ads for foods in the red category, which include chocolate, candy, wafers, energy bars, packaged sauces and deserts, cakes, cookies, chips, fruit drinks, energy drinks, pops and popsicles will not be shown at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of children's TV programs.

The new regulation will especially affect advertisement shown on children's TV channels, which are flooded with junk food ads on a regular basis but will also include regular TV channels when they broadcast children's programs.

Ads for foods in the orange category, which include crackers, milk products, cereals, yogurt, cream, cheese, pizza, butter, bread, pasta, processed meat, chicken and fish products and other foods, will be allowed to be shown if they do not exceed the specified salt and sugar limits on the list.

Meanwhile, ads for foods in the green category will be allowed, as it contains healthy foods such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, legumes, plain milk and yogurt products.

The new regulations are expected to go into effect in the next two weeks, reports said.

Like other countries throughout the world, which deal with rising rates of obesity and other health problems related to unhealthy eating habits, Turkey's health ministry has been trying to raise awareness through campaigns aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle.

The government has initiated a series of programs to tackle the increasing obesity rates in the country.

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