The Italian Advertising Self-Regulatory Body Has Issued A New Regulation On Food And Beverage Promotion To Protect Children And Healthy Eating – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

Will Kreznick

Italy: The Italian Advertising Self-Regulatory Body Has Issued A New Regulation On Food And Beverage Promotion To Protect Children And Healthy Eating 03 March 2021 Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login […]


Italy:

The Italian Advertising Self-Regulatory Body Has Issued A New Regulation On Food And Beverage Promotion To Protect Children And Healthy Eating


To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

On February 9, 2021, the Italian Advertising Self-Regulatory
Body (“IAP“) published a new regulation
(the “Regulation”) aimed at governing commercial
communications on food products and beverages to protect children
and ensure healthy eating.

The Regulation broadens the rules already provided
by Article 11 of the Self-Regulatory Code on Commercial Communications (the
IAP Code“), which prescribes that
special consideration shall be given to messages aimed at minors
below the age of 12 and teenagers. Among other things, Article 11
of the IAP Code already forbade commercial communications that
encourage “the adoption of imbalanced eating habits or
disregard for the need to follow a healthy lifestyle.

Article 11 of the IAP Code has now been amended so that that food
product and beverage advertising aimed at children is also subject
to the content of the Regulation, which is expressly referenced as
being part of the IAP Code.

The Regulation largely incorporates the content of the Guidelines for marketing communication relating to
food products and beverages, to protect children and their proper
nutrition
(the “Guidelines“), issued
by the Italian Ministry of Health in 2015 together with the IAP and
a group of trade associations, which-although not formally
binding-highlight the importance of fair advertising of food
products and of the monitoring activity carried out by the IAP.

Accordingly, Article 4 of the Regulation includes a ban on
statements or representations that could mislead
children, including omissions, ambiguity, and exaggerations that
are not obviously hyperbolic, particularly regarding the
nutritional characteristics and effects of the product, prices,
free offers, conditions of sale, distribution, the identity of
persons depicted, prizes, or rewards.
” Further, the
Regulation cites some general principles governing advertising,
such as the principle of fair representation (Article 3) and the
principle of transparency (Article 6).

In addition to the above, by issuing the Regulation the IAP
sought to take up the call put out by Directive (EU) 2018/1808 (not yet transposed
in Italy, except for very few provisions), which reiterates the
importance of codes of conduct in offering protection to consumers
and calls for self-regulation and co-regulation to reduce
children’s exposure to inappropriate audiovisual commercial
communications. Indeed, the 2018 Directive amended and updated the
Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Directive (EU) 2010/13) introduces, among
other things, an explicit reference to codes of conduct that
operate to “effectively reduce the exposure of children to
audiovisual commercial communications for foods and beverages
containing nutrients and substances with a nutritional or
physiological effect, in particular fat, trans-fatty acids, salt or
sodium, and sugar, of which excessive intakes in the overall diet
are not recommended.

Accordingly, the Regulation moves in that direction by providing
a specific rule under Article 5 relating to “Audiovisual
commercial communications for food products and beverages
containing fat, trans-fatty acids, sugar, and sodium or
salt.
” Specifically, Article 5 of the Regulation provides
that audiovisual commercials aimed at children “must not
emphasize the positive nutritional qualities
” of food and
beverages containing “fat, trans-fatty acids, sugar, and
sodium or salt, of which excessive intakes in the overall diet are
not recommended.
” It does, however, allow for
highlighting the presence, absence, reduction, or
replacement of one or more ingredients or their components within
the limits permitted by current legislation.

Further restrictions are provided by the Regulation, which
applies generally to any form of commercial communication, thus
including, for example, advertising, sponsorship, and direct
marketing, but also packaging, wrapping, and labeling-in other
words, any message capable of leading to immoderate consumption
that runs contrary to healthy eating behaviors.

Originally Published by GALA, February 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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