Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Soft-drink makers pledge to lift game

Soft-drink makers will remove sugared drinks from school canteens and stop advertising directly to children.

The Australian Beverage Council yesterday unveiled tough guidelines in response to pressure to alleviate childhood obesity. Signed by almost all major bottlers of carbonated, non-carbonated, juice and water-based drinks, they will be introduced over two years.

The measures include the removal of all sugar-sweetened drinks from primary school canteens and the supply of them to high schools only on request.

The companies also propose that they will not advertise any such drinks directly to primary school-age children or in children's TV programs. So-called diet drinks would not be included in the bans.

The companies will also declare kilojoule content and additional nutritional information on labels.

Australian Beverages Council chief executive Tony Gentile said the changes would help consumers make informed choices.

Nine other initiatives include increasing the range of low-calorie products, encouraging smaller portions and boosting educational programs.

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