The consumer organization Foodwatch analyzed the EU-Pledge signed by numerous European food manufacturers in 2007 to only advertise food products for children that fulfill certain nutrition criteria. The study shows that in spite of the voluntary self-commitment of the industry unhealthy food is still being heavily marketed:
- Out of the 281 German food products analyzed, only 10% fulfilled the WHO-standards for a healthy diet and were hence considered suitable for children’s marketing.
- The nutritional criteria of the pledge are too lax: The maximum permissible sugar level of 30% is twice as high as the amount recommended by the WHO.
- Health experts think that the voluntary age restriction for the advertising of food products to children should be lifted from now 12 years to 16 years.
In Germany 6 million people suffer from diabetes and 1.9 million children and teenagers between the age of 3 and 17 are overweight. Based on these facts and the study’s results health experts and Foodwatch demand a legally binding ad ban for food considered unhealthy by WHO-standards. Dietrich Garlichs, executive director of the German Diabetes Gesellschaft, criticizes the EU-pledge as follows: “The strategy of voluntary self-regulation, information and education did not work out. (…) Only four European countries, Ireland and Great Britain among others, took individual measures that correspond with WHO-criteria”.