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February 5, 2008

FRANCE: Consumer body cheers anti-obesity fight

France’s main consumer body has applauded the country’s programme to combat obesity, which was announced today (5 February).

France’s main consumer body has applauded the country’s programme to combat obesity, which was announced today (5 February).

The most radical of the measures announced are plans to axe TV ads, from April, for certain food products during periods when children’s programmes are broadcast.

The plans will be presented at a consultative meeting of all the relevant parties at the start of next month.

French health minister Rosalind Bachelot warned that if a consensus can not be achieved “voluntarily” the government would resort to legislation.  

“After 30 years of passiveness, the government has at last come up with a real policy to combat child obesity,” consumer body UFC-Que Choisir said.

“France has finally decided to follow in the path of the ambitious policies pursued in other countries which have focused on obesity’s ‘Trojan Horse” – TV advertising.”   

The French government’s plans include the setting up of a food quality watchdog and focus on supermarket groups reviewing their sweet and chocolates display policies and withdrawing stocks from checkouts. 

A meeting between the government and the French food retailers’ federation, FCD, is due to be held this month with the measure set to take effect from June. When contacted by just-food no one at the FCD was immediately available for comment.

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