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End the Charade!The ongoing failure to protect childrenfrom unhealthy food marketing

Prepared by the Obesity Policy CoalitionThe Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) is a partnership betweenCancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Victoria and the World HealthOrganization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Preventionat Deakin University, with funding from VicHealth.The OPC advocates for evidence-based policy andlaw reform to reduce the burden of overweight andobesity in Australia, particularly among children.AcknowledgementsThe Obesity Policy Coalition is grateful for the assistanceof its coalition partners in the preparation of this report.Suggested citationMills C, Martin J, Antonopoulos N. End the Charade! Theongoing failure to protect children from unhealthy foodmarketing. Obesity Policy Coalition, Melbourne, 2015.

ContentsExecutive summary1SECTION 1Background3What is the problem?3Why do we need to reduce children’s exposureto unhealthy food marketing?3Why has the Obesity Policy Coalition releasedthis report?4SECTION 2Findings – Industry has weakened its voluntaryregulations for protecting children6Weakness 1:The food industry has loosened its definition ofhealthy food6Weakness 2:The meaning of marketing “directed primarily tochildren” has been eroded8Weakness 3:Complaints system lacks transparency andaccountability9SECTION 3Conclusions – A way forward11Recommendations - a plan for action12References13

ExecutivesummaryAustralians are becoming increasinglyconcerned about children’s unhealthy diets,high rates of overweight and obesity and themarketing of unhealthy food to children.The nation’s system for protecting children from unhealthyfood marketing is mostly a voluntary, self-regulatorysystem, operated by the food and advertising industries.In 2012, the Obesity Policy Coalition released a report titledExposing the Charade. This report explored the problems ofunhealthy food marketing to children and highlighted thekey failures of the self-regulatory system to protect childrenfrom this type of marketing. In particular, it highlightedmajor loopholes in the self-regulatory codes, exploredthe narrow application of these codes and concludedthat government led regulation is urgently needed.Since then, little action has been taken by Australiangovernments and the self-regulatory codes have beensubstantially weakened. The system is, in fact, getting worse.The changes to the codes now include:»» A looser definition of ‘healthier’ foodUnder this definition, many foods that would be consideredunhealthy under government dietary guidelines, such asCoco Pops, are considered a ‘healthier dietary choice’for the purpose of the codes – meaning they are alsoconsidered appropriate for marketing to children.»» A weakened meaning of ‘directed primarily to children’This weakened clause results in children being targetedthrough a greater range of techniques such as animations,cartoons and imagery from fairy tales, which previouslymay not have been permitted in unhealthy food marketing.»» An ongoing lack of transparency, accountabilityand accessibilityThe codes are amended without consultation and thesystem is fraught with delay. There is a lack of objectivityand transparency in decision making and no meaningfulsanctions exist for breaches of the codes by advertisers.The passive approval of this system by the Australiangovernment is dramatically out of step withcommunity expectations, healthy eating guidelinesand the recommendations of peak internationalbodies (including the World Health Organization).It will only be through significant improvements led bygovernment that children’s exposure to this type ofmarketing will be reduced and their diets and healthimproved. The action needed is outlined in BOX 1.BOX 1A comprehensive approach, led by Australian governments,is urgently needed.As a first step, Australia’s broadcasting regulator,the Australian Communications and MediaAuthority, should monitor children’s exposureto unhealthy food marketing on television.»» Expand their scope to apply to all forms,media and locations of marketing ofunhealthy food (including brand marketing)that is directed to, or appeals to children.Amendments should also be made to theadvertising codes or regulations to:»» Restrict all unhealthy food marketing ontelevision during times when large numbers ofchildren are likely to be watching (i.e. weekdays6–9am and 4–9pm, and weekends andschool holidays 6am–12pm and 4–9pm).»» Clearly define key terms, including‘unhealthy food’, ‘unhealthy food marketing’,‘children’ and ‘directed to children’.»» Consistently and transparently define‘unhealthy food’ in accordance withgovernment and scientific guidelines.»» Ensure compliance is regularly monitored.OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE! PAGE 1

PAGE 2 OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE!

Section 1BackgroundWhat is the problem?Australia is being engulfed by an obesity epidemicthat is threatening its population’s welfare and futureeconomic prosperity. One quarter of Australian childrenand 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese.1The current generation of children are expected todie at an earlier age than their parents as a result.Poor diet and elevated Body Mass Index (BMI)have been identified as the leading causes ofchronic disease in Australia.2 This poses a hugechallenge for our nation and its policy makers.If high rates of overweight and obesity are not checked,it is estimated that 83% of men and 75% of women over20 will be overweight or obese by 2025, creating majorimplications for health care spending and public health.3Overweight and obesity are a major cause of thespiralling demands and rising costs, straining ourhospitals and health services. These risk factors canlead to chronic disease and/or limit a person’s ability towork or take part in family and community activities.A PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia study estimatedthe total costs of obesity in Australia in 2011-12 to be 8.6 billion. This total cost included direct financial costsof 3.8 billion (e.g. general practitioner, allied health andspecialist services, hospital care, pharmaceuticals andweight loss intervention costs). It also included 4.8billion in indirect costs (e.g. absenteeism, presentism andgovernment subsidies). It estimated that these costswould escalate to 87.7 billion in additional direct andindirect costs due to obesity to society over the next tenyears if action is not taken to curb the obesity epidemic.Conversely, by investing in a set of evidence basedinterventions, estimated to cost 1.3 billion, there wouldbe a benefit of 2.1 billion to society after 10 years.4Why do we need to reduce children’sexposure to unhealthy food marketing?Australian children are being bombarded by unhealthyfood* marketing† in all aspects of their lives – whenthey watch television, use social media, go to school,play sport or participate in community events.The World Health Organization (WHO) and numerouspublic health experts have called for effectivecontrols on unhealthy food marketing to reducechildren’s exposure and reduce their risk of poordiet, weight gain and chronic disease.Their proposals are supported by robust evidence that foodmarketing not only influences children’s food attitudesand dietary preferences, it also influences what they eatand contributes to high rates of childhood overweightand obesity.5 Food marketing also raises serious ethicalissues, as children cannot properly understand orinterpret marketing messages, or recognise that theirintent is to persuade rather than entertain or inform.6While the food and marketing industries claim to becommitted to ‘responsible’ marketing to children pursuantto a range of industry-developed initiatives and codes,these restrictions as they currently stand provide verylittle protection to children. An overview explaining howthis self-regulatory system works is contained in BOX 2.Self-regulation has not been shown to be effectivein achieving the policy aim of reducing children’sexposure to unhealthy food marketing in any meaningfulway in Australia, or anywhere in the world.7As poor diet and weight-related chronic diseasecontinue to engulf the nation, we cannot permitthe charade of self-regulation continue.*Any reference to ‘food’ in this paper includes food and beveragesunless otherwise stated or indicated by its context.†References to ‘marketing’’ in this paper include any method usedto advertise, promote or publicise unhealthy food products or foodbrands.OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE! PAGE 3

It is now more than five years since the AustralianGovernment’s Preventative Health Taskforce identifiedthe need to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthyfood marketing. The Taskforce also identified the needto monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of furtherchanges to self-regulation to reduce children’s exposure.8It is also nearly two years since the Australian governmentco-sponsored a resolution by the World Health Assemblywhich in effect, urged Australia to accelerate theimplementation of the WHO’s Set of Recommendationson the Marketing of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages toChildren. In its recommendations, the WHO urged MemberStates to strengthen marketing restrictions to reducethe exposure of children to, and the power of unhealthyfood marketing. It also encouraged Member States toestablish systems for ongoing monitoring and evaluation.Why has the Obesity PolicyCoalition released this report?In 2012 the Obesity Policy Coalition investigated andreported on the failure of self-regulation to reducechildren’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing.9 Theseflaws remain and have not been addressed. The report,Exposing the Charade: The failure to protect childrenfrom unhealthy food advertising, demonstrated:»» Major loopholes»» Self-interest dictates–– the scheme relies entirely oncomplaints from the public–– there are inconsistencies in decision making bythe Advertising Standards Board (“Board”) andkey claims have not been properly addressed–– the Obesity Policy Coalition believes that theBoard’s decisions are completely out of stepwith prevailing community standards»» There is no independent oversight–– there is a blatant conflict of interest in self-regulationwhich clearly undermines its effectiveness–– there are no meaningful sanctions for breaches–– there is no evidence that self-regulation has reducedchildren’s exposure to unhealthy food marketingAustralians want governments to regulateunhealthy food marketing to childrenAustralian parents and other consumers want governmentsto intervene and take the steps urgently needed toprotect children from unhealthy food marketing.A national survey conducted by Cancer Council Victoriain 2012, of 1,521 adult grocery buyers, found:–– 87% wanted the government to regulateunhealthy food advertising on free-to-air-TV–– the codes do not apply to all food advertisers,only those who sign up to the codes–– 77% supported a ban on unhealthy foodadvertising at times when children watch TV–– the codes only cover advertising content thatis “directed primarily to children” – they donot prevent advertising for unhealthy foodsthat appeal to both children and adults–– 87% wanted restrictions on unhealthy foodadvertising on children’s websites–– the codes do not prevent unhealthy foodadvertising on TV when the highest numbers ofchildren are in the viewing audience, i.e. between6 and 9pm when the highest rating children’sshows are broadcast. They apply only whenchildren represent 35% or more of the audience,which is rare (and not representative of whenthe largest numbers of children are watching)–– 69% supported restrictions on unhealthy foodsponsorship of children’s sporting events.10–– many forms of promotion and media are not covered–– the codes only apply to younger children–– the criteria for nutrition and healthy dietarychoices are vague and unclearPAGE 4 OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE!–– 81% supported restrictions on the use of toysand give-aways to promote unhealthy food

BOX 2Overview of the self-regulatory system in AustraliaWhile some broadcasting codes cover children’sprogramming on television in Australia,11 the rulescontrolling unhealthy food advertising to childrenare largely left to a national system of foodand advertising industry self-regulatory codesand initiatives. These purport to set standardsfor ethical advertising of food to children.12The Advertising Standards Bureau (‘Bureau’) administersthe codes, including those developed by the AustralianAssociation of National Advertisers (AANA), whichrelate to community standards and contain certainrequirements for marketing aimed at children (collectively:‘AANA codes’).13 The Bureau also administrates codesspecifically developed for food and beverage advertisersby the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).These codes comprise the Responsible Children’sMarketing Initiative (RCMI), which applies to groceryproducers, and the Quick Service Restaurant Initiativefor Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children(QSRI), which applies to several large fast food chains.14The RCMI and QSRI apply to marketing in certain typesof media, including free-to-air Australian television.The stated objectives of these initiatives include toreduce marketing to children for food and beverageproducts that do not represent healthier choices.The public can make complaints to the Bureau aboutalleged breaches of the AANA codes, RCMI and QSRI.The Bureau can refer them for consideration to theAdvertising Standards Board, which is the associateddecision-making body responsible for adjudicatingcomplaints and disputes. The Board has no statutoryauthority, cannot impose sanctions and has noenforcement powers, however industry subscribers tothe codes do abide by the Board’s decisions in practice.OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE! PAGE 5

Section 2Findings – Industryhas weakenedits voluntaryregulations forprotecting childrenWeakness 1: The food industry hasloosened its definition of healthy foodThe Obesity Policy Coalition has lodged several complaintsabout advertisements that fail to comply with the codes,including relating to the nutritional value of the product.Prior to 2014, the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s(AFGC) code known as the Responsible Children’sMarketing Initiative (RCMI) required that food marketingto children should promote “healthy” dietary choices.Coco Pops and Paddle Pops are considered‘healthier dietary choices’The AFGC changed the requirement in January 2014 sothat products advertised to children would only have tomeet the definition of ‘healthier’ dietary choices. Unlike theterm “healthy”, the term ‘healthier’ is a relative expressionthat is not tied to any objective standard of health.Each manufacturer sets its own criteria forwhat constitutes a ‘healthier dietary choice’Under the RCMI companies are allowed to set their ownnutritional criteria to define a ‘healthier’ dietary choiceaccording to each company’s individual ‘company action plan’.In response to several complaints about advertising for CocoPops and Paddle Pops since 2012, the Board has acceptedadvertisers’ claims that these foods are ‘healthier dietarychoices’ in accordance with their company action plans.16In each case, the Obesity Policy Coalition argued in itscomplaint that the amount of sugar these productscontributed to children’s diets per serve (2 teaspoons or36.5% by weight for Coco Pops and up to 3 teaspoons or20% by weight for certain Paddle Pops) was not consistentwith WHO recommendations.The RCMI requires that the criteria must be based on‘scientific or government standards’, however there is norequirement that they be based on current research or onAustralian standards. This has led to companies using widelyvarying definitions of what they consider to be ‘healthier’ food.Foods considered unhealthy by the WHO,as well as government and scientific foodstandards, can fall into the ‘healthier’ categoryfor the purposes of food marketing.A recent Cancer Council NSW study revealed food companiesthat have signed up to the RCMI are stretching the meaningof ‘healthier’ beyond a reasonable interpretation of the word.The study compared the food companies’ own definitionsfor ‘healthier’ food against the robust and independentlydeveloped nutrient standards defining healthy food used inAustralian food labelling by the regulator - Food StandardsAustralia New Zealand.The study found that, considering all advertisements, theadvertisements by RCMI signatories were more likely topromote products that failed health standards (68%) thanpassed (32%), while the number of advertisements by nonsignatories that failed health standards (49%) was similar tothe number that passed (51%).15PAGE 6 OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE!A healthier dietarychoice, despite being36.5% sugar.18The WHO recommends that free sugar* intake should be lessthan 10% of total energy intake, and that levels of 5% or less(around 6 teaspoons per day for an adult, less for a youngchild) are recommended for extra health benefits.17 It wasalso argued that the products would not be considered‘healthier dietary choices’ by reference to the AustralianDietary Guidelines 2013, which recommend that intake offood and drinks containing added sugar should be limited.*The WHO defines “free sugars” to include monosaccharides anddisaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer,cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups,fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates

Nevertheless, despite the authoritative force of theinternational and domestic governmental standards fordietary sugar consumption relied on by the Obesity PolicyCoalition in each instance, both advertisers consistentlyput forward their own company definitions of ‘healthierdietary choices’, as permitted under the RCMI to legitimisethe marketing of high sugar products to young children.Coco Pops are a “healthier choice” according to Kellogg’scriteria, yet they receive only 2 out of 5 stars under thegovernment’s Health Star Rating food labelling system.This means that Streets ‘Trop-o-saurus Slime’Paddle Pop icy poles, which contained more than3 teaspoons of sugar per serve (equivalent to 20%sugar by weight), were considered appropriate tobe marketed to children under the codes.19This permissive definition of ‘healthier’ also extendsto Paddle Pop ‘Dragon Poppers’. Promoted as ‘toppedwith exciting popping candy’, they contain 298kJ ofenergy per serve, which comes largely from sugar,a mere 2kJ short of being classified as ‘red’ foodsunder the Criteria, which would preclude them frombeing sold in schools or marketed to children.20These examples highlight how far the companies’nutrition standards deviate from Australian and internationalstandards, and contemporary scientific evidenceabout nutrition.The approach taken to defining ‘healthier dietary choices’also varies across processed food companies. For example:»» Kellogg’s definitionKellogg’s self-imposed definition requires that productsadvertised to children under 12 must contain no more than2 grams of saturated fat per serve, no more than 12 gramsof added sugar per serve or no more than 230mg of sodium.In real terms, this means that Kellogg’s children’scereals containing up to 38% of sugar by weight(in the case of Froot Loops) are considered by thecompany to be ‘healthier dietary options’ appropriate formarketing to children using recognisable characters.Paddle Pop’sDragon Poppersare consideredto be suitablefor marketing tochildren under theUnilever CompanyAction Plan.22In short, unlike the previous wording, the term‘healthier’ is a relative expression. It reflectsthe lack of standards and rigour applied to thenutrition criteria in the company action plans.The change reflects the poor nutrient profile ofmany signatories’ products targeting children, towhich it would not be appropriate on any commonsense view to apply the term ‘healthy’.A healthier dietarychoice according toKellogg’s CompanyAction Plan, yet itreceives only 2 starsunder the government’sHealth Star Rating foodlabelling system.18»» Unilever’s definitionUnilever, the manufacturer of Paddle Pops, which usespromotional characters including the Paddle Pop Lion,defines ‘healthier dietary choice’ by reference to the FreshTastes @ School NSW Healthy School Canteen Criteria(Criteria) which promotes healthy food choices in schools.The change also highlights the ease with which thecodes can be amended by the AFGC to suit themarketing preferences of the companies it representsand maximise their marketing reach, while maintainingthe public profile benefit that subsists in claiming ‘acommitment to responsible marketing practices’.A consistent approach is urgently needed. The FoodStandards Australia New Zealand nutrient profilingscoring system for identifying foods eligible to makehealth claims has been rigorously tested and is basedon current nutrition standards and scientific evidence.It provides a robust, simple to use model that could beeasily adapted to define “unhealthy food” for the purposeof restricting food advertising directed to children.Under the Unilever Company Action Plan, productsare considered ‘healthier dietary choices’ suitablefor marketing to children where they fit within the‘green’ or ‘amber’ categories, containing less than300kJ (energy) per serve, and less than 100mgof sodium (for sugar sweetened drinks and ices).There is no upper limit for sugar content.OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE! PAGE 7

Weakness 2: The meaning ofmarketing “directed primarily tochildren” has been erodedThe Advertising Standards Board has always interpreted themeaning of “directed primarily to children” very narrowly.The food and advertising industry’s regulatory codesaimed at protecting children from unhealthy foodmarketing only cover marketing that is ‘directedprimarily to children’. The codes do not apply tomarketing directed at adults, or adults and children.When a complaint about an advertisement is made to theBoard, it assesses whether the ad is ‘directed primarily tochildren’ by looking at the ‘theme, visuals and language’ used.22The codes do not apply if the Board considers theadvertisement to be primarily directed at parents, toconvince them to buy the product for their children (despitethe advertised product being intended for consumption bychildren and being promoted in a way that also appeals tochildren).23 This means that although the codes purport toprotect children from being influenced by unhealthy foodmarketing, they do not apply to material that actually hasthis effect, only to marketing intended to have this effect.As discussed in Exposing the Charade, this meansthat a huge amount of child-oriented, influentialmarketing is not covered by the codes.However, in a rare win for health groups in 2013,the Board rejected arguments by Kellogg’s thata Coco Pops advertisement was designed toevoke nostalgia and directed to adults.24In the ad the small chocolate Coco Pops (with childishgiggling voices) played ‘Marco Polo’ in a bowl full of milk,crying out playful expressions including ‘fish out of water’.Kellogg’s conceded Marco Polo had been enjoyedby children for generations, but argued the imagerywas used ‘to prompt nostalgic recollections of maingrocery buyers regarding the “fun” times they mayhave experienced during their own childhood ’Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Marco Polo ad, complaint upheld25PAGE 8 OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE!The Board disagreed, finding that objectively weighed,the elements of the ad as a whole would be of principalappeal to children, and therefore was directed primarily tochildren. Kellogg’s withdrew the advertisement Australiawide given it did not actively promote good dietaryhabits or physical activity, as required under the RCMI.The release of the the new Australian Association ofNational Advertisers (AANA) Code of Advertising andMarketing Communications to Children Practice Note (seeBOX 3) soon followed, demonstrating how easy it is forindustry to manipulate the Codes and how even limitedprotections can be easily eroded.The new Practice Note provided that ‘Marketingcommunication which appeals to an adult using imageryreminiscent of childhood may be directed to adultsand not to children’. These notes provide guidance toadvertisers and the Board on interpretation of the Codes.The language of the Practice Note in relation to ‘nostalgia’closely echoes the argument advanced by Kellogg’sunsuccessfully in the ‘Marco Polo’ decision described above.Advertisers (including Kellogg’s) have since reliedon the Practice Note with great success.Advertisers have since used the Practice Note to defendthemselves against complaints that their unhealthy foodads used animation, animals and childish themes likely toappeal to children.For example, Kellogg’s successfully relied on the Practice Notein response to a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalitionabout a Coco Pops ad in 2014 (the ad was very similar to the‘Marco Polo’ ad that was previously rejected by the Board).The advertisement featured a ‘breakfast makingcontraption’ with animated clouds, spoons, cogs andmusical instruments, which the advertiser argued was‘somewhat old fashioned, featuring wooden instruments and is designed to appeal to [the main grocery buyer’s]sense of nostalgia and not young children’.The Board agreed with the advertiser and dismissedthe complaint.27Kellogg’s Coco Pops “get mornings done” ad (2014, complaintdismissed).26

BOX 3AANA Practice Note (April 2014)The Practice Note introduced a range of guidingprinciples that appear to increase the range ofmarketing activities that may be used by anadvertiser to appeal to children. It provides that»» the codes do not cover ‘marketing communicationsfor toys or child entertainment which can beenjoyed by children but which are directedto adults or parents to purchase the toy orentertainment’ (regardless of whether theyare also of strong appeal to children).»» ‘marketing communication which appeals to anadult using imagery reminiscent of childhoodmay be directed to adults and not to children’.This AANA Practice Note was introduced by theindustry body without oversight or consultation,in apparent response to unfavourable rulings bythe Board in relation to certain advertising.The Practice Note was also successfully relied upon inresponse to a complaint about Wonka Cookie Creamerychocolate products, where the advertiser argued that ananimation sequence referencing magical and whimsicalthemes from the children’s story Willy Wonka, were designedto appeal to an adult’s sense of nostalgia for childhood.28While a narrow interpretation of ‘directed primarily tochildren’ was always applied by the ASB, its interpretationhas been further confined by this unilateral industry move.Weakness 3: Complaintssystem lacks transparencyand accountabilityA number of decisions by the Board since 2012demonstrate the ongoing lack of accountability,accessibility and transparency in the complaintsprocess administered by the Board.First barrier for consumers: the processfor lodging a complaint is complex, fraughtwith delay and can be expensiveConsumers who want to lodge a complaint aboutan advertisement must first go to the Board’swebsite to answer seven questions to determinewhether the issue is within the Board’s remit.Complainants must then identify the relevantcode and issues involved in an online form.It can then take the Board months to make a decision.For example, a complaint made in May 2015 abouta Fanta TV ad and app was upheld two monthsafter the initial complaint was made. A complaint tothe Board in 2013 about an ad for Mondelez Oreocookies (Wonderfilled ad) was initially dismissed, butfollowing an application to the Board for independentreview, was ultimately upheld more than threemonths after the initial complaint was lodged.Between the time these complaints were made andfinally upheld, no action was taken to moderatethe influence of the advertisements on children.The willingness of industry to respond to complaintoutcomes considered unfavourable to manufacturersby simply changing the rules highlights the lack ofaccountability within the self-regulatory system.Furthermore, to apply for independent review ofthe Oreo Wonderfilled ad decision, the ObesityPolicy Coalition, a not-for-profit organisation, hadto pay a 500 fee. The fee for an individual is 100, and the fee for advertisers is as high as 2,000. These fees are refundable only if the reviewresults in the original decision being overturned.Wonka Cookie Creamery chocolate TV advertisement (complaintdismissed)29Nabisco (Kraft) Oreo Wonderfilled TV advertisement (2013,complaint initially dismissed but upheld on review)30OBESITY POLICY COALITION END THE CHARADE! PAGE 9

Second barrier for consumers: process of investigatingcomplaints is not transparent or procedurally fairIn response to the initial complaint about the OreoWonderfilled ad, the advertiser relied on a reportfrom an expert psychologist, which cited evidencethat the advertisement would not be readilyunderstood by children under the age of 11.31The Obesity Policy Coalition made numerous requests tothe Board that the report be provided to it (to enable it toassess and respond to the material). But the report wasnot provided and as a result its case was disadvantagedby such lack of transparency and arbitrary procedure.Unlike other self-regulatory systems, such as the AlcoholBeverages Advertising Code scheme, the Board refusesto consider complaints about non-signatories.34For example, between 2012 and 2014, ads for MameeNoodle Snacks, a high fat, nutrient poor product, werebroadcast on TV, using cute blue monsters to promotethe product. The product’s advertiser had not signedup to the codes, making the company unaccountableunder the food industry’s code, the RCMI.Third barrier for consumers: food companiesremain unaccountable for breaching thecodes due to absen

programming on television in Australia,11 the rules controlling unhealthy food advertising to children are largely left to a national system of food and advertising industry self-regulatory codes and initiatives. These purport to set standards for ethical advertising of food to children.12 The Advertising Standards Bureau ('Bureau') administers

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