Daytime adverts for sausage rolls, mustard and ketchup will be banned under the Government’s obesity crackdown, it was claimed today.
All foods with more than 1.5g of salt face being barred from television screens until after the 9pm watershed.
It includes British cupboard staples such as ketchup, Marmite and soy sauce — all of which are eaten in small amounts.
Marmite contains 10.8g of salt 100g. But Heinz Ketchup only just tips the threshold, at 1.8g of salt per 100g.
In a desperate attempt to fight the nation’s bulging waistline, ministers are clamping down on all foods high in sugar and fat.
Critics say the measure will also ban adverts for yoghurts, raisins, tinned fruit, and many other products ‘no reasonable person would consider to be unhealthy’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the ban on daytime ads for junk food last month, after admitting he was ‘too fat’ when he was hospitalised with Covid-19.
Experts today slammed Number 10’s move, calling it ‘barmy’ and warning adverts fund ‘programmes we all enjoy’.
Adverts for everyday essentials could be banned from daytime TV under the Government’s obesity crackdown
Popular snacks like sausage rolls and children’s teatime favourites like fish fingers are likely too be axed from TV advertising because they are high in salt
According to The Sun, foods with more than 1.5g of salt, 20g fat or 22.5g of sugars per 100g will be targeted in the TV advert bans.
MailOnline has approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment. It has yet to reply.
The government agency has previously said it will be publishing its plan by the end of this year.
But if the claims are true, several salty products including English mustard, bacon, sausages, ham and cheese will disappear from daytime TV adverts.
Popular picnic snacks like olives, cocktail sausages and pasties would likely be targeted, considering they typically have salt contents breaching ‘healthy’ levels.
The Sun reports that ‘new research’ has also revealed fish fingers and sausage rolls will also be targeted because they have high levels of salt. But it is unclear where this research is from.
Campaigners praised the government’s plans to address obesity, which were unveiled last month.
Under Number 10’s crackdown to make the nation slimmer, restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees must print calorie counts on menus.
Placing sugary and fatty items in prominent locations in stores will be stopped, including at checkouts and entrances, and online.
Instead, shops will be encouraged to promote healthier choices and offer more discounts on healthy food such as fruit and vegetables.
Family doctors will become ‘healthy weight’ coaches and will be able to refer overweight patients to Weight Watchers and Slimming World to help tackle the obesity crisis.
The UK is the second fattest country in Europe with two-thirds of adults above a healthy weight and one in three children aged 10 to 11 are overweight or obese.
But a number of groups have criticised the strict rules as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘war on obesity’ and have urged No10 to ditch it.
Daniel Pryor, head of programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, a think tank advocating for personal freedom in policies, said: ‘The Government’s barmy ad ban plan doesn’t cut the mustard. Well, technically it does.
‘Instead of helping consumers find great British produce, the definition of “junk food” takes out some of the country’s favourite foods.
‘It will also hamstring our embattled creative industry without making a dent in obesity rates. TV ads can be annoying but they fund the programmes we all enjoy.’
Christopher Snowdon, of the Institute of Economic Affairs thinktank, said: ‘It is misleading to claim that the bans would only affect “junk food”.’
He said foods that are often labelled as high in fat, sugar and salt under the government’s own rules include soy sauce, mustard, honey, jam, butter and olive oil.
Mr Snowdon described the move as ‘ridiculously excessive’, saying it will be a ‘real hinderance to companies large and small’.
He said: ‘The economy is on its knees, commercial television is in crisis, the advertising industry is making mass redundancies, and yet the government wants to make it more difficult for businesses to reach their customers.
‘An advertising ban is expected to cost TV companies £200million a year. This cost will be passed on to viewers through poorer programming and fewer channels.’
A recent poll for the Obesity Health Alliance of 2,000 people found that almost eight out of 10 supported manufacturers reducing sugar in foods, while 74 per cent backed not showing adverts for junk food before 9pm on TV and online.
The DHSC says current advertising restrictions for unhealthy products during children’s TV are ‘insufficient to protect children from seeing a significant amount of unhealthy food adverts on TV’.
It pointed to research that found half of all food adverts shown over the month on ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky1 were for HFSS products. This rises to almost 60 per cent during the 6pm to 9pm.
Cancer Research, who conducted the study in September 2019, found every additional hour children spent watching TV was linked to a 21 per cent increased chance of buying food they’d seen advertised.
And previous research showed that every 4.4 minutes of food advertising was linked to children eating 60 more calories a day.
Eating as little as 46 extra calories each day could lead to excess weight, the researchers added.
Mr Johnson, who reportedly blamed his weight after he needed intensive care treatment for Covid-19, is keen to slim down people’s waistlines before an anticipated second wave of coronavirus.
A link between obesity and Covid-19 severity has been shown in several pieces of research, and is feared to be one of the main reasons Britain has such a high death toll.
Overweight people are more than three times as likely to die of Covid-19 than those of a healthy weight, Public Health England warned in July.
People who have extra weight, defined as a body mass index of over 25, are also at higher odds of needing ventilation when ill with Covid-19 by seven-fold.
The report, which was commissioned to investigate the risks of obesity and Covid-19, said excess weight does not seem to increase people’s chances of catching the virus, but said excess fat can affect the respiratory system and is likely to affect immune function.
Experts behind the report said ‘every kilo’ people lost would reduce their risk of being admitted to hospital with the disease.