October 1, 2023


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Scrutiny growing for food ads directed at children: product regulatory marketing lawyer

1 min read

Restricting food advertising to children has been a mandate of the Health Minister since 2015. Health Canada plans to amend the Food and Drug Regulations to crack down on food advertising that promotes excessive intake of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. The ministry held a consultation from April 25 to June 19, seeking feedback on the policy update. The approach will focus on television and digital media.

“It’s unclear how those legal initiatives will shape out because I think we’re in the very early stages,” says Li.

Li mainly represents large food and beverage manufacturers, for whom she advises on labelling, marketing, and advertising, among other things.

According to a recent bulletin Li wrote with Laura Weinrib and Lindsay Toth, Ad Standards assesses three factors when determining whether an advertisement is directed at children: “the nature and intended purpose of the food or beverage product advertised, the manner of presenting such advertisement, [and] the time and place it is shown.” Ad Standards’ analysis will consider these three prongs and the relationship between them, said the bulletin.

“Whether or not something that’s primarily directed at children is going to be extremely context-dependent,” says Li.


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