Take a look at the product labels in our picture. Would you want these harmless foods that our kids have loved for generations to be treated in the same way as cigarettes and alcohol? No, we thought not. However, if the FSA and Ofcom continue to demonise food using their flawed Nutrient Profiling Model, who knows where future legislation might lead?

Child-friendly products such as Marmite, cheese, tomato ketchup, breakfast cereal, raisins and olive oil face joining the unholy ranks of cigarettes and alcohol to be regarded as the root cause of the UK's health problems and the spiralling cost of the NHS.

Scaremongering warnings such as 'consumption of this product could be bad for your health' or 'consume Marmite responsibly' are not beyond the realms of possibility.

Already, like tobacco and alcohol, the government has decided that these products are not suitable for consumption by children under 16 in refusing to allow them to advertise to a young audience. But unlike cigarettes and alcohol, these foods are not harmful to children, particularly when judged in the portions that are most often consumed.

Ofcom prefers not to take into account the fact that Marmite is only ever spread thinly on toast or ketchup squirted on the side of the plate, ­instead judging them by ridiculous 100g portions ­meaning they're on a par with a burger and chips.

Many in the industry fear the stigma attached to tobacco and alcohol could, over time, also stick to healthy foods such as Greek yoghurt, honey and cheese because Ofcom's advertising ban to children labels them as junk.

Leaf UK is launching Red Band sweets, a brand of better-for-you confectionery that has both reduced and no-sugar recipes and added fruit juice.

MD Tony Camp says Leaf is still battling to get the brand on television because it still falls foul of the new regulations. Says Camp: "We have been working to find a suitable script to gain British Advertising Clearance Centre approval in the light of the restrictions now placed on HFSS foods by Ofcom. We have found that, governmentally, hurdles have been put in the way of a company that only wishes to use advertising to announce the fact that a better, alternative range of sweets now exists in the marketplace.

"If this is what we're facing now, then I can see us having to carry a government health warning on our sweets in the next 10 years.

"How ridiculous will that be?"


14 February 2003:

The first phase of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act comes into effect

30 July 2003:

Tobacco sponsorship for cultural and sporting events banned

1 July 2007:

Smoking banned in public indoor spaces in England


1 October 2005:

New rules and guidance for alcohol advertising are launched


17 November 2006:

Decision made to ban TV ads of junk food to children aged 4 to 9

22 February 2007:

Decision made to extend ban to children under 16