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Fast Food Firms and the Law

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 3 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Fast Food Law Regulations Targets Media

The UK is increasingly a very legislation heavy country, and with TV chefs and lobby groups getting in on the act, it was only a matter of time before fast food and junk food became subjects of new laws governing their sale and advertising.

Since 2005 there has been a whole raft of new legislation, with the diets of children mainly being the targets. Obesity levels have increased and health campaigners have been concerned with getting regulations in place that not only limit children’s access to the fast foods that are said to be making them obese and unhealthy – but also limiting the ways that advertisers can market their goods to young children and invoke ‘pester power’.

Regulations On Fast Food In Schools

There is various legislation in place (including the Education Acts of 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2006) which put into context the duties of schools to provide food for pupils. The government announced its ‘New Standards for School Food’ in 2006 and all schools are now expected to comply with a range of nutritional regulations.

Schools are no longer allowed to provide chocolates and sweets, crisps and savoury snacks (except for seeds, nuts and vegetables) and low grade meat products such as burgers, pasties or sausages. They must also not provide deep fried foods more than twice a week.

Regulating The Media

In another bid to protect children from junk food and fast food advertising, it was announced in April 2007, that junk food advertising would be banned during or close to all specific children’s programmes, any other programmes that target children, and any programmes considered to have a higher than normal proportion of viewers aged between four and nine.

As from January 2008, the regulations were also extended to cover programmes that target children up to 15. Children's TV channels have been slightly reprieved and won’t have to implement all of the new regulations until January 2009.

Using Cartoon Characters In Fast Food Advertising

Children's TV channels have had to become more responsible since the legislation on advertising of fast foods and junk foods came into force, as it specifically bans them from using what they describe as licensed characters in any TV advertisements for foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt that are aimed at four- to nine-year-olds.

The children’s channel Nickelodeon has gone a step further by only allowing its Spongebob Squarepants character to be associated with healthier foods, rather than its pervious partner, Burger King.

Disney has also taken the regulations on board and has been working with Tesco to use its characters to promote healthy options such as fruit, wholegrain cereals and healthy option ready meals.

Most of the regulations concerning fast food tend to centre around its effects on children, connected with rising obesity rates. There are plans afoot to regulate where fast food outlets are allowed to open, with councils suggesting that new shops should not be allowed to open within 400 metres of a school.

There are also rumblings from government that it will encourage schools to keep pupils in at lunchtime to avoid them getting their fast food fix elsewhere.

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This is continued from before ... Wait for it... "We don't have any single Whoppers now until tomorrow, only double Whoppers". I mean, hello? Seriously?! Like, aren't the burgers cooked and assembled right there whilst you wait for them?! If that isn't the most blatant lie to manipulate the customer into buying more, I don't know what is. She didn't even share this little fairytale with me when I was ordering. When I tell her I don't want a large portion of fries she brings over three paper bags and explains that the small one is called small, the medium one is called large and the large one is called mega. I had lost the will to engage more. When did 'medium' become Nigel No-mates? Again, I am very aware of the queue behind me so I decide that arguing the toss about something that is CLEARLY utter rubbish is futile, so I give up - and to go with my double Whoppery Whopper with large bag of fries I got a bucket of a sweet drink that was barely identifiable as Iced Tea. Imagine my lack of surprise when I left half of my meal and all but a sip of the "tea". This bugged me. I went back to the automated ordering screen just to check that what I thought happened earlier, actually had happened. It had - and I could still order a Whopper - not a double Whopper, just a Whopper etc for €8.05. Cecilia should read for Jackanory. ===========?============?===========?================ The reason this bugs me so much is that, like so many people these days, I struggle with my weight. I don't WANT to be a ******* Whopper - but Burger King seems Hell-bent on making it so, just to squeeze more money out of us. Equally, I care passionately about our planet and I don't want to contribute to the release of CO2, methane - or any other breakdown gases from rotting food - but neither am I going to eat more than I need, wanted or ordered in the first place! Aren't there laws or regulations in place about this over-selling? Is there someone out there who can hold these giants to account? Clearly the justification for the double burger is utter fallacy, so how can we protect ourselves from such devious, manipulative tactics to strip money from us at a cost to our health and that of our beautiful planet? I have taken photos of the various automated ordering screens and I have retained the receipt showing, not only what I didn't order, but the discrepancy in price between the two systems. Are we powerless against these giants or is there someone who regulates them? I have looked online and all I see are statements saying that they SHOULD be regulated - can anyone on here help? Thanks!
JC - 3-Jun-19 @ 9:59 PM
Are we powerless against the greed of the Fast Food giants? Burger King, Gate 1 Valencia Airport: Thursday, May 30th 2019 ca 17:30hrs. Going home from Spain, I decide to fuel up before the flight. There is a Burger King; I seldom visit burger joints but it is the only food option available. That'll do. I see the sign "Have it your way" but I opt for a simple Whopper with Cheese Meal. You know; a burger, portion of fries and a drink. I try ordering on their touch-screen system: it's slow as I have to navigate my way through all the huge "Gourmet" burgers that take up the whole of the first screen. Actually, it's the only screen with photos of burgers so prominently displayed: there are no subsequent screens to scroll through. There is no sign of the Whopper. I go to the menu and start working my way through the Beef category. There it is: Whopper. Tap. Would you like to customise your order? Yes. Tap. I add cheese. I add fries. Medium fries confirmed. Would you like to add a drink? Yes. Before I can select my drink the screen changes and gives me two options, the first schematic flashes in my face, urging me to tap it: "MEGA Meal". The second is a mere "Large Meal". No other options. Large; the lesser of the two evils. Tap. Finally, the drinks: I can't find the coffee. OK, tea then. No tea. Groan... I select Iced Tea. Validate your order: Whopper, cheese, iced tea, large fries. €8.05 to pay. LARGE fries? Wait, I don't want large fries. I try going back to mediumsville but I'm not given the option to downsize my fries. The queue behind me grows so I scrap it and decide to order at the counter - maybe I can get my coffee there in any case. I go to the counter and start again. A Whopper with cheese meal, please. OK, what drink would you like? There's no coffee or tea so I'm back to the iced tea. €9.30, please. I pay. I wait... I think, €9.30? I'm sure it was cheaper on the automated ordering system - and that was with them trying to sneak in large fries. I check the order receipt that's still waiting to be filled. And there, without me asking for it, is an order for a Double Whopper with cheese, Large fries and a Large iced tea: worse than the automated (over)ordering system. I check with Cecilia, my server; I tell her I don't want a double Whopper: I only ordered a Whopper: a single patty burger. She tells me, Wait for it... "We don't have any single Whoppers now until tomorrow, only double Whoppers". I mean, hello? Seriously?! Like, aren't the burgers cooked and assembled right there whilst you wait for them?! If that isn't the most blatant lie to manipulate the customer into buying more, I don't know what is. She didn't even share this little fairytale with me when I was ordering. When I tell her I don't want a large portion of fries she brings over three paper bags and explains that the small one is called small, the medium one is called large and the large one is called mega. I had
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