17 Jun 2011

Regulation on junk food advertising in Fiji possible if voluntary ban not implemented

1:52 pm on 17 June 2011

Fiji's interim Minister of Health says a ban on junk food advertising and a reduction of salt and fat in processed foods are necessary to address the epidemic of lifestyle diseases.

Dr Neil Sharma says the contributing factors of diabetes, heart disease and cancer need to be addressed.

He says new data from research into the food consumption and activity of children in Fiji has prompted the call for a voluntary ban on advertising by fast food companies.

"If individuals see people drinking coke and pepsi rather than water or coconut water, they will go for that. And when transnational corporations sell carbonated fizzy drinks at prices cheaper than water and coconut water then of course people will be driven to that because of their financial situation."

Dr Sharma says if the voluntary ban is not effective, regulation may be needed.

He says cutting back on fats and salt in processed food will also come under review at a meeting of importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail outlets next week.