BAI plan to ban cheese ads 'mad'

Members of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications who met with representatives of the National Dairy Council (NDC) in the Dáil yesterday described the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s proposal to ban cheese advertising on children’s TV shows as “absolutely crazy” and “mad”. NDC interim chief executive Maeve Guthrie told the committee the BAI proposal was based on a “fundamentally flawed” model.

The proposal is based on a British nutrient profiling model which categorises foods as healthy or non-healthy. NDC nutrition manager Dr Catherine Logan said that in the case of cheese products, the model did not take into account the role of calcium. While obesity rates doubled among young people in the last 15 years, cheese consumption remained more or less the same. The code would define diet cola as healthier than cheese.

NDC Delegation in Dail

The NDC delegation of Maeve Guthrie, Dr Catherine Logan and economist Ciaran Fitzgerald in the Dáil

Guthrie, who worked for PepsiCo, said categorising cheese as less healthy would cause “huge confusion” in consumers’ minds. The Department of Health had recommended three servings of milk, cheese and yogurt a day. Fine Gael TD Tom Barry said the proposal was “absolutely crazy”. The banning of cheese ads during children’s TV shows would “sabotage” Ireland’s dairy industry, which was world renowned for its quality.

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