Russia may ban processed-food advertising to encourage healthier food habits. Lawmakers are likely to pass a bill to make it nearly impossible to promote food with high saturated fat, salt and sugar content.
United Russia MP Vasiliy Shestakov said he would draft a number of amendments to Russian laws related to advertising processed food. The new law would limit the promotion of food and beverage items like margarine, sweets, potato chips and sodas. Advertising certain types of sausages and many other types of fast food also will be banned, he said.
Russia’s Party of Pensioners asked the government in June to ban U.S. brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The head of the group argued the soft-drink companies backed anti-Russian politicians in the United States.
Russia Today reported the amendments were likely to consider alcohol ads and processed food ads to be equally concerning. According to Shestakov, healthy “national foods” are threatened by processed food.
The amendment would provide detailed information on maximum amounts of allowed saturated fat, sugar and salt in foods. If an item fails to meet the suggested standards, it will be barred from airing radio and TV ads during the prime time, 7-10 p.m, and from all media aimed at children.
The law potentially would ban harmful food items in most public places and a number of major events. Local media said the advertising industry could be affected seriously if the new law is passed. Makers of processed food make up to 8 percent of total advertising budgets on Russian television. As much as $89 million is supposed to be spent for fast-food advertising on Russian television in 2015.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that the new law would be designed to encourage young people to maintain normal blood pressure and weight. "The amendments actually equate fast-food advertising to alcohol advertising," Russian news agency Pravda quoted Shestakov as saying.
Fyodor Borisov, from the Russian Association of Ad Placers, said the amendment is unnecessary. He said his organization already had imposed a number of restrictions as a self-regulating measure.