Regulations

Currently, food marketing to children in Australia is regulated under a mixed system of government regulation and voluntary industry self-regulation. The Australian Government is trialling self-regulation to see whether food companies will comply with the voluntary codes in place.

The current regulatory system is complex and can be confusing to navigate.  The list below does not specify all regulations and codes but provides information on some of the most relevant issues.

If you are unsure which code your complaint falls under click here to tell us about your complaint. We can then guide you to the right place.

Choose a regulation from this list to see what it covers

  • - Competition and Consumer Act (formerly Trade Practices Act)

    This regulation covers

    Any marketing or advertising

    You can complain about

    • Misleading or deceptive information
      About the nutritional value of the food or other information likely to mislead children or adults.

    Who to complain to

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

    How to complain

    Phone: 1300 302 502
    Online: (use general complaints form):
    http://www.accc.gov.au/

  • - Children’s Television Standards

    This regulation covers

    Free To Air TV
    Advertising during, before or after children’s programming (Programs classified P or C).

    You can complain about

    • Misleading or deceptive information
      About the nutritional value of the food or other information likely to mislead children.
    • If the ad is dominated by a premium or special offer
      E.g. toy or gift with purchase, product giveaway or competitions.
    • Personalities and characters
      E.g. TV or movie characters, cartoon characters, popular personalities, branded or licensed characters.
    • If the ad creates peer pressure
      E.g. suggests child will be more popular than other children if they have the advertised food.
    • If the ad creates parental pressure
      E.g. encourages ‘pester power’ by children.

    Who to complain to

    Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

    How to complain

    Phone: 1300 850 115
    Email: broadcasting@acma.gov.au
    Post: Community complaints
    Australian Communications & Media Authority
    PO Box Q500
    Queen Victoria Building
    Sydney NSW 2000

    Link to more information

    http://www.acma.gov.au/

  • - Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Food and Beverage Code and AANA Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children

    These regulations cover

    Food advertising on/in:
    Television
    Radio
    Newspaper
    Magazine
    Cinema
    Outdoor sign
    Internet
    Email

    You can complain about

    • Misleading or deceptive information
      E.g. about the nutritional content or health benefits of the food
    • Premiums or special offers
      E.g. toy, gift or product giveaway with purchase.
    • If the ad creates peer pressure
      E.g. suggests child will be more popular than other children if they have the advertised food.
    • If the ad creates parental pressure
      I.e. by undermining efforts to encourage healthy eating, or by encouraging ‘pester power’ by children.

    Who to complain to

    Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB)

    How to complain

    Online: http://www.adstandards.com.au/

    Link to more information

    AANA Food & Beverages Advertising & Marketing Communications Code
    AANA Code for Advertising & Marketing Communications to Children

  • - Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative of the Australian Food and Beverage Industry

    This regulation covers

    Food advertising on/in:
    TV
    Radio
    Newspaper
    Magazine
    Cinema
    Internet

    You can complain about

    • Advertising messaging
      Advertising food that does not represent healthy choices consistent with established scientific or Australian government standards (e.g. food or drinks that are high in fat, sugar or salt). References that do not encourage good dietary habits or physical activity.
    • Advertising content
      The ad uses themes, visuals and language that would be considered directed to children (eg toys, games, cartoon characters).
    • Advertising placement
      The ad is in a program or otherwise placed where a lot of children will see it.

    Who to complain to

    Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB)

    How to complain

    Online: http://www.adstandards.com.au/

    Link to more information

    AFGC: Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative

  • - Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children

    This regulation covers

    Food advertising on/in:
    TV
    Radio
    Newspaper
    Magazine
    Cinema
    Outdoor sign
    Internet
    Email
    Interactive games

    You can complain about

    • Advertising messaging
      Advertising food that does not represent healthy choices consistent with established scientific or Australian government standards (e.g. food or drinks that are high in fat, sugar or salt). References that do not encourage good dietary habits or physical activity.
    • Advertising content
      The ad uses themes, visuals and language that would be considered directed to children (eg toys, games, cartoon characters).
    • Advertising placement
      The ad is in a program or otherwise placed where a lot of children will see it.
    • Advertising at children’s sporting events
      Unhealthy food is given away or offered in vouchers
    • Availability of nutrition information
      Nutrition information is available on websites or on request and on packaging wherever possible.

    Who to complain to

    Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB)

    How to complain

    Online: http://www.adstandards.com.au/

    Link to more information

    Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children

  • - Many areas are not covered under current regulations however you can voice your concerns by telling us about it

    These include

    Brand advertising in schools or at sports events
    Packaging
    In-store promotions
    Point-of-purchase promotions

    You can complain about

    • Any junk food marketing aimed at children not covered in the regulations above

    Who to complain to

    Tell us about it