On 4th June 2013, the BAI published revised versions of its General and Children’s Commercial Communications Codes. These Codes deal with advertising, sponsorship, product placement and other forms of commercial promotion. The Codes have been updated to include new rules on the promotion to children of food that is high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS food). The revised Codes came into effect from 2nd September 2013.
The Revised Codes
The Codes apply to broadcasters within the jurisdiction of Ireland. They do not apply to other services commonly received in this State, but licensed in the United Kingdom or other jurisdictions.
Guidance Notes to accompany the Codes have been prepared by the BAI. These notes are provided as an aid to understanding the intent of the rules and the manner of their application in a broadcast context.
The Guidance Notes for the Children’s Code can be found here.
The Guidance Notes for the General Code can be found here.
The BAI is also developing technical guidance on the application of the Nutrient Profiling Model. This model is used to define whether or not a food is high in fat, salt or sugar. These technical notes will be developed following consultation with advertisers and broadcasters and will be published prior to the effective date for the Codes. Pending this, advertisers seeking to assess whether their food product or service is HFSS and subject to restrictions once the Codes are introduced should refer to the technical guidance developed by the UK Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health. These can be viewed here.
The HFSS Nutrition Profile Certificate
Review of the General Commercial Communications Code
The Broadcasting Act requires that the BAI reviews its Codes and Rules on a periodic basis. The BAI has recently commenced a review of the General Commercial Communications Code and a report on the effect of the existing Code is now available here. A public consultation on possible revisions to the Code will commence in 2016.