AMENDMENT OF THE ADVERTISING CODE
Recently, in mid-March, the Portuguese Parliament approved a law introducing restrictions on advertising aimed at minors of foodstuffs and beverages containing high energy, salt content, sugar, saturated fatty acids and processed fatty acids.
The law was promulgated by the Portuguese President of the Republic, on April 11, and is awaiting further processing to be published in the official Portuguese Journal, Diário da República.
The amendment of the Advertising Code is framed in a State's policy to combat overweight and childhood obesity, which will seek to prevent risk behaviors and reduce the occurrence of diseases: increased breathing difficulties, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, oncological diseases, among other pathologies.
This subject, although not subordinated to legal stipulation, was contemplated in self-regulatory codes. The forthcoming law provides that economic operators may be bound by more stringent restrictions than those stipulated in this head office by concluding self-regulation and co-regulation, accession and free untying agreements.
The forthcoming law regards as foodstuffs and beverages of high energy value, salt, sugar, saturated fatty acids and processed fatty acids those that contain a quantity of such elements which compromises, according to the available scientific knowledge, a varied, balanced and healthy diet.
However, we will have to wait for the concrete definition of this concept, which will be set in a dispatch of the Portuguese Directorate-General for Health, to be published after the entry into force of the law, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and the European Union.
LIMITATIONS ON ADVERTISING MESSAGES
Advertising to all foodstuffs and beverages containing high energy, salt content, sugar, saturated fatty acids and processed fatty acids is now submitted to restrictions as provided by law.
Unfortunately, although the legislative procedure has been long, the legislator has chosen to use vague and indeterminate concepts with regard to the recipient of the advertisement. This vagueness is evident in the discrepancy in the summary attributed to the diploma by the Portuguese Parliament ("Introduces restrictions on advertising aimed at minors under 16 years of age ...") and the purpose thereof defined in article 1 and in the wording of paragraph (1) of the new Article 20º-A of the Advertising Code, which do not mention the age (16...