FACUA urges the Government to unblock the law regulating advertising of unhealthy products to minors

The association warns that if it does not approve the decree promoted by Consumo, the government will be bowing to the interests of big business in the food industry.

FACUA urges the Government to unblock the law regulating advertising of unhealthy products to minors

FACUA-Consumers in Action is calling on the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, to get involved in unblocking the legislation he promised to approve on the regulation of food and drink advertising aimed at children and adolescents.

The association recalls that in February it criticised the fact that the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, bowed to the interests of the food industry and put the brakes on this regulation, a decree drawn up by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to prohibit the advertising of unhealthy products, which cause enormous damage to the health of minors.

In this regard, FACUA points out to Sánchez that some voices within the coalition government, such as those of the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, are also calling on him to put an end to the dispute over the regulation, warning that if a decision is not taken before 31 March, it will be impossible for it to be approved during this legislature.

Thus, the association insists that Planas' attitude goes against the recommendations of the WHO, the European Commission and the Spanish Government itself, as it is blocking a measure that appears as a priority in the National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity. And it does so, in FACUA's opinion, by bowing to the demands of the large food industry, which, with absolute irresponsibility, wants to continue to direct advertising to minors for the products responsible for the extremely high rates of child obesity in Spain.

The minister has publicly stated that he prefers "self-regulation" of the sector rather than legal regulation and, therefore, obligatory compliance. But the truth, warns FACUA, is that such self-regulation has already existed for two decades - the PAOS Code - and has not served to prevent minors from being subjected to a multitude of advertising messages inviting them to consume unhealthy food and drink.

The fallacy of self-regulation

The association points out that the argument of self-regulation by the food industry is nothing more than a way of preventing legal regulation that would put an end to advertising campaigns that encourage the epidemic of childhood obesity, which is also produced in households with less purchasing power.

To avoid the need for advertising regulation, warns FACUA, is to side with the big companies in the sector and against the most vulnerable consumers, i.e. children and low-income families.

For all these reasons, the association points out that, with this attitude, Minister Planas is defending the interests of a powerful global lobby, that of the manufacturers of ultra-processed products, over another much weaker one, such as fresh food products, fruit and vegetables.