Taiwan Bans Junk Food Marketing To Kids

To promote healthy eating among children, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration has imposed restrictions on junk food advertising starting January 1, 2016.

AsianScientist (Jan. 26, 2016) – Aiming to promote healthy eating among children, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed restrictions on junk food advertising and marketing on January 1, 2016, The China Post reported.

Furthermore, “snacks, candies, beverages, frozen treats and fast-food” that contain “trans fats, saturated fats, sodium or added sugar” exceeding regulation standards will be targeted by this new move, the FDA said.

Restrictions will be placed on foods with fat exceeding 30 percent of the total calorie count, saturated fat exceeding ten percent of the total calorie count, foods with in excess of 400 milligrams of sodium per serving and foods where added sugars make up over ten percent of the total calorie count.

Such foods are in violation of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation and food companies cannot target advertising at children under the age of 12, or on television between 5 to 9 pm.

A complete ban has also been put on the promotion of toys given out with meals. Giving complimentary gifts to children with food purchases and additional promotions, such as buying a product and getting a toy or gift for an additional price, is a common marketing technique among fast food chains.

FDA spokeperson Chih Lan-hu, speaking to Taiwan’s Central News Agency in December, stated that the aforementioned food regulations are categorized into advertising and promotional restrictions.

In the case of restricted advertising times, ads cannot be aired on television channels that target children and should not include certain phrasing or representations that market unhealthy food as a substitute for a healthy meal.

However, such ads can still be aired in other time slots, or on non-children targeting channels, such as news channels.

Following the new regulations, violation of the regulations will result in a fine of between NT$40,000 (US$1189) and NT$4 million (US$118,917). Health departments will be tasked to supervise companies and increase inspections.

In response to this move, fast food chain McDonald’s changed its menu in late November. Kids’ meals are now served with fruit or salad and juice or milk, instead of fries and soda, said Chih.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: ebru/Flickr/CC.
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Coming from a design background, Filzah brings a fresh perspective to science communications. She is particularly interested in healthcare and technology.

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