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Saying no to a marketing ban

Orkla does not support the government's revised proposal for a ban on marketing to children and adolescents in Norway.

A unified industry is in the process of setting up a Complaints Commission for the Food Industry (MFU) to ensure that the industry does not market food and beverages to children and adolescents. At the same time, as a potential sanction, the public health authorities have decided to draw up alternative regulations mandating a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children in the event the industry's self-regulation efforts do not work.

The revised draft regulations were sent out for comment, in response to which Orkla submitted a consultative statement to the ministries.

"We are of the opinion that there are several obstacles to implementing the ministries' alternative regulations. First of all, we would point out that the proposal has no legal authority in the Food Act, meaning it cannot be implemented through regulations. Secondly, the proposal is in breach of the EEA agreement, not least because a ban is not appropriate for reaching the target, which is reducing obesity and improving public health," points out Håkon Mageli, EVP Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs.

He points out that industry-driven self-regulation is by far the best solution, and that the scheme both strengthens and further develops the self-justice of the food industry.

"We consider it crucial that the food industry be part of the solution. The authorities themselves have also recommended this. We also want to allow adequate time for the scheme to work so that we can actually see the positive effects of industry-driven self-regulation," explains Mageli.

The food industry has two years to prove that self-regulation works. The new guidelines are advisory from 1 August 2013, and binding from 1 January 2014. The self-regulation scheme is governed by a set of general guidelines, and the appeals body MFU will follow up the scheme in actual practice.