Malaysian government has banned fast-food companies from sponsoring or advertising on television shows for children, so as to encourage healthy eating habits, media reported here today.
Malaysia’s Health Minister Chua Soi Lek said the Cabinet has also made it compulsory for all fast-food companies to disclose on their product labels the cholesterol, fat and sugar content of the food that they sell.
The television ban would affect all companies that prepared food in a standardised form, served it in large quantities in restaurants and advertised their products on television, Chua was quoted as saying by the Star daily.
He said the decision was based on the fact that television advertisements had a higher influence on children aged 12 and below compared with other media.
The government realised that the decision would affect multinational fast-food companies and millions of ringgit in revenue for television stations, the Minister said.
“But the government feels it has a greater responsibility to protect the health of the people.” Chua said the content ruling was in line with the government’s efforts to reduce chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
He said a reasonable amount of time would be allowed before enforcing the ban because companies might have existing advertising contracts and also needed to prepare the labels.
The government wanted to create a better-informed society that practised healthy eating habits, Chua said.