Global Playground The environmental minister who wants to 'save' German children from junk food


Global Playground The environmental minister who wants to 'save' German children from junk food

Who. The German Minister of Agriculture and Nutrition, from the Green party.

That. He wants to limit by law the advertising of junk food directed at children, both on television and on social networks such as TikTok.

Because. The minister's proposal for children to "grow up healthy" has been rejected by both the government coalition partners and the opposition. It also has the all-powerful market against it.

The German Minister of Agriculture and Nutrition, Cem Özdemir, wants to limit by law the advertising of junk food directed at children, including advertising clips that are played on social networks such as YouTube, Instagram or TikTok by so-called food influencers to whom the manufacturers pay for it. Between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., the minister does not want advertisements on television for foods aimed at children that contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar, nor salty and fatty products in general that encourage their consumption during a movie break or a football game.

In his crusade for children's health, Özdemir also wants to ban outdoor advertising within a 100-meter radius of schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and recreational facilities.

The minister, from the Green party, wants to make sure that "children grow up healthy" and that is fine, but the government's coalition partners and the conservative opposition feel that this task is not up to him. The head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Saskia Esken, for example, believes that feeding children is the business of the parents. The general secretary of the liberals of the FDP, Bijan Djir-Sarai, advocates "personal responsibility" and denounces "turning all minors into minor citizens." For Steffen Bilger, vice president of the parliamentary group of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), "Özdemir is paving the way for dirigisme, bureaucracy and state paternalism."

The minister had resistance and it has come from so many fronts that it is very possible that his project will not go ahead, because, deep down, everyone knows that fat and calories are linked to lifestyle and purchasing power.

Even the decision taken by large supermarket chains such as Rewe or Edeka to remove the chocolates from the American manufacturer Mars from their shelves has to do with money. The reason is simple. Mars wanted to ride the wave of inflation and impose price increases and the supermarkets refused.

Mars, one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, has nearly 300 brands, and they are all very tempting. The best known are Snickers, Twix and M

Özdemir talks about health. "We are not doing a general ban on advertising, we are not going to ban any food and we are not thinking of a tax on sugar, as has been applied for years in Great Britain. In Germany, advertising is still allowed, you can eat chocolate and French fries," he said.

15% of children under 17 years of age in Germany are overweight and 6% are morbidly overweight. But if the problem is advertising, it should still be limited to adults as well. Half of EU citizens are well over the recommended weight, according to the World Health Organization.

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