Food giants to stop targeting kids in ads

Top food and beverage firms, including Mondelez, McDonald’s, Nestle, PepsiCo and Kellogg, have committed to stop advertising and promotional activities targeted at children below 12 years across platforms as part of a new global pledge to step up responsible marketing. So far, there were no restrictions on below-the-line advertising aimed at children through tie-ups with cartoon characters, joint promotions at events targeting children, through interactive games and outdoor ads.

The firms have made the commitment under the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA) and have sent their pledge to comply with the new norms by 2016 to the World Health Organization. Under its new commitment, McDonald’s will have to stop targeting children with its Happy Meals toys.

The firms’ new commitments under IFBA include reducing sugar, sodium, and saturated fats content to comply with minimum global criteria and displaying nutritional information not only on packs but also at points of sale.

Medical Council of India backs advertising watchdog

Advertising Standards Council of India said it has been backed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for taking action against doctors whose ads violate the Medical Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002.

As per MCI rules, doctors cannot promote themselves in advertisements. The advertising industry watchdog said MCI has directed it to send them a state-wise list of allopathic doctors registered with MCI who have been advertising their products or services in newspapers and/or television and also making misleading claims so that appropriate action can be taken. MCI has also sought help from ASCI to report advertisements by fake doctors.

Soon, car owners can force recalls in case of defects

The new Road Safety and Transport Bill 2014, likely to be passed in the upcoming winter session of Parliament, puts in place a mandatory policy for recalling defective cars. Recalls would be mandated by a national authority. The authority shall have the power to order a recall of all motor vehicles of a particular model where a defect has been reported by a hundred or more people.

A manufacturer whose vehicles are subject to an order of recall may be obliged to compensate buyers of the full value of the vehicle, replace or repair the defective model with another vehicle of similar or better specifications or pay fines as may be specified in the regulations.

‘Parents can file consumer plaints on kids’ behalf’

Making the definition of ‘consumer’ all inclusive, a Mumbai consumer forum has said that both parents who hire services and their wards who are beneficiaries are consumers and either could file a complaint. It relied on a Supreme Court verdict which categorically laid down that parents would come within the definition of ‘consumer’.

The forum made the observations in a case involving the Institute of Hotel Management, Dadar. The institute, which argued that the complaint should be dismissed as it was not filed by the pupil but by his father, was directed to refund Rs 36,000 and pay Rs 15,000 as compensation.

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