The planned restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy foods to children are to be tightened.

Federal Food Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) told the “Rheinische Post” (Saturday) with regard to the internal government talks: “We have incorporated suggestions and criticism and have specified our draft accordingly.” Advertising bans for products with too much sugar, fat and salt should be focused on times when a particularly large number of children watch television. The proposal is now that this applies on weekdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Saturdays also from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Previously, it was scheduled from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day.

Özdemir presented the legislative plans at the end of February, which should contribute to healthier eating and less obesity. In the governing coalition, however, the FDP immediately raised objections. The minister said of the proposed amendments: “We are presenting a good proposal that is welcome to be supplemented. Then we will quickly come to the cabinet.” The focus is on children under the age of 14. The determination of excessive sugar, fat or salt content should be based on the nutritional value calculations of the World Health Organization (WHO). Health and consumer experts support the plans, but the nutrition and advertising industries are putting pressure on them.

Focus on day-care centers and schools

Regarding bans on poster advertising for unhealthy products in certain places, Özdemir said: “We are concentrating on the direct nutritional environment of the children: daycare centers and schools.” So far, such “banned miles” were also planned for leisure facilities and playgrounds. In addition, it is made clear “that there is no ban on advertising food in shop windows”. Existing exceptions to advertising bans for milk and fruit juices should now also be extended to yoghurt that is not extra sweetened. There should be no “broadcasting time regulation” for advertising on the radio. On the Internet, “all common channels are affected, including influencers”.

The Children’s Health Foundation criticized the changes to the draft law. “It is not expedient to continue to allow poster advertising near playgrounds and leisure facilities,” said the chairman of the Children’s Health Foundation, Berthold Koletzko, the editorial network Germany. He was also dissatisfied with the shortened ban on television advertising: “If you want to protect children and their health effectively, the times from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and weekends should be included.”