High fat food ads face ban threat
Adverts for cheddar cheese, butter, margarine and mayonnaise could be banned during children's programmes.
Draft rules to regulate the promotion of food and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) before 6pm have been proposed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).
Commercials for crisps, confectionery, sweetened drinks, and some brands of pizzas, breakfast cereals and sausages could also be banned during shows aimed at kids, like The Late Late Toy Show.
Celebrities, sports stars and characters from TV programmes and movies will also be stopped from promoting foods deemed to be bad based on their nutritional profile.
Elsewhere no more than one in four adverts can be for HFSS products.
Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael TD for Laois/Offaly, claimed the proposal to curb cheese adverts was ludicrous and damaging to the booming dairy industry which employs 34,000 people.
"Research shows that while obesity in children has broadly doubled over a 15-year period, cheese consumption has remained static," he said.
"I fail to understand why the BAI would consider banning cheese advertising based on this, but allows adverts for Diet Coke, a product which is full of artificial sweeteners and has no dietary benefit whatsoever."
However, food safety body safefood argued the measures do not go far enough for the protection of children's health and should be extended to 9pm.
"Given the high numbers of children watching prime time television, children are still exposed and need protection after the 'traditional hours' of children programming," it said.