New Rule: Celebrities Can’t Promote Junk Food, Sugary Cereals for Kids

A supermarket. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

After developing legislation to label “junk food” – manufactured food products with low nutritional content – the Health Ministry has issued rules against the use of celebrities to advertise those products. Any print or electronic ad for products aimed at children, such as breakfast cereals, will no longer feature celebrities or social icons to endorse the products.

The ban was recommended by a Health Ministry committee that is drawing up measures to be implemented next year in the Ministry’s long-running battle against food with poor nutritional content. The advertising rules will be voluntary at first, but the Ministry intends to develop legislation that will impose penalties on companies that break the rules.

Beginning in 2020, manufactured food products will have to bear labels indicating their health levels. The plan involves implementing color-coding for packaged foods, with a symbol indicating whether it is healthy or otherwise, with each graded according to the number of calories, the level of fat, and the amount of added sugar in products.

According to the recommendations, foods that include any of the following – 300 or more calories per 100-gram (3-ounce) serving, 500 mg of sodium and/or 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams, or 5 grams of saturated fat per 100 gram serving – would get a “red” mark, meaning that consumers should avoid and/or significantly limit their intake. Foods that fit in with recommendations of the Health Ministry, such as having no added sugar, would get a “green” mark.

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