Spanish businesses angered by planned ban on advertising sweets

Madrid, Oct. 29, (dpa/GNA) - Plans to ban advertising of sweets that focus on children were met with a wave of criticism from Spanish businesses on Friday.

Companies are "surprised and outraged," according to the Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB).

The firms' outrage came after Consumer Protection Minister Alberto Garzon announced that the new law regulating the advertising of sweets would enter force in 2022.

The law would affect adverts for biscuits, sweets, ice cream, chocolate and cakes, along with soft drinks, sodas and other sugary drinks.

FIAB director general Mauricio García de Quevedo called the move an "unfounded and unjustified attack" on a sector whose workers had ensured the continued supply of food during the pandemic.

He also criticised the "language used," saying that talk of protecting children from the food industry was unacceptable.

People should "not criminalize an entire sector," he said.

Garzon noted that similar regulations apply in Britain, Norway and Portugal, among other countries, and said the health situation in Spain was "worrying."

Some 23.3 per cent of all citizens are overweight, while 17.3 per cent are obese, he said. "That is more than 40 per cent in total. This is alarming."

Low-income families were twice as likely to be affected by the problem than those who are wealthier, he said.