South Africa’s draft food labelling and advertising regulations

Comments have recently closed on the South African Department of Health Draft Regulations on labelling and advertising of foods (R429). The comprehensive guidelines cover food labelling as well as prohibiting the marketing of unhealthy foodstuffs to children under 18. This includes a ban on TV and radio between 6am and 9pm, advertising on product packaging and the use of cartoon characters and celebrities that might appeal to children. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an association representing the digital industry in South Africa was among those that made submissions to the consultation on the draft . A spokesperson for the IAB said the Regulations were unduly onerous and flawed and suggested the Bureau was open to working to find viable alternatives under self- or co-regulation. The IAB also highlighted the difficulties with addressing online marketing. Self-regulation has been shown to be ineffective in many countries including Australia.

The South African Department of Health included regulations on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children in the Labelling Regulations as part of addressing the need to tackle the crisis in childhood obesity.

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