Cartoon characters under fire for promoting unhealthy food

October 2nd, 2008 - 1:04 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct 2 (ANI): Tony the Tiger and the Dairylea Cow have come under fire for failing to promote healthy eating in children, a consumer group has said.

A report by Which? has accused few of the 19 cartoon characters in supermarkets for not marketing healthy food and therefore, fuelling childhood obesity.

Kraft’’s Moo, the Dairylea Cow, was the worst offender because of the high fat and salt content of the cheese products, closely followed by Intersnack’’s Pom-Bear crisps because they are high in saturated fat and Kellogg’’s Tony the Tiger because Frosties are one third sugar, the report said.

A spokesman for Which? said that if the food companies would not act voluntarily to stop targeting children in this way, then the Brit government must bring in new legislation to ban it.

According to health experts, obesity will lead to an explosion of cases of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

A survey carried out by Which? survey found that two thirds of people think that companies should not be allowed to use cartoon characters to promote unhealthy foods to children.

Some characters like the Honey Monster do promote healthier products such as Honey Monster Honey Meltz, but the same character is also used in adverts for Sugar Puffs and Honey Monster Honey Waffles, which are not.

The report called ”The cartoon villains are still getting away with it” follows up a similar report last year and has found little improvement since then.

“Cartoons are great fun for kids. We definitely don”t want to see the end of popular characters like Tony the Tiger and the Honey Monster, but we do want to see them promoting healthier products, Telegraph quoted Which? food campaigner Clare Corbett, as saying.

“Food companies must play their part in the fight against childhood obesity and diet-related disease by acting responsibly. Going back to the drawing board and closing the cartoon loophole in their self-regulatory codes is a vital step in tackling this complex issue. If the industry fails to act, the Government must step in, the rep added. (ANI)

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