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Children’s characters may disappear from unhealthy food in Netherlands

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Licensed media characters like Dora the Explorer and Miffy would no longer be used to target young children under initiative by Dutch food industry

Famous childrens characters such as Dora the Explorer may soon disappear from some commercial food packaging in the Netherlands to discourage unhealthy eating habits, food industry representatives have said.

The decision was made after public debates on the impact of advertising targeting children, the umbrella Dutch Food Industry Federation (FNLI) said. Obesity is a problem over which the food industry is greatly concerned.

The move, a first in Europe, would see popular cartoon characters also including Miffy the bunny disappear from generic products perceived as unhealthy that target young children with their packaging.

The new measure aimed to curb packaging with licensed media characters aimed at children up to 13 years, said the FNLI, which represents 450 food industry businesses and 19 organisations.

The newspaper De Telegraaf said: These products are placed on shelves at childrens eye level and are often unhealthy, containing too much salt, sugar or fats.

Dutch health ministry spokeswoman Leonne Gartz said the measures would involve characters like Miffy and Dora the Explorer being removed.

It does not affect characters specific to products, for instance the tiger on a famous cereal brand, she said.

The FNLI hoped that the phasing-out would be implemented during the course of 2017 following a number of tests to ensure the plan did not lead to unfair competition in the market.

The Dutch deputy health minister Martin van Rijn praised the food industrys initiative.

Its important to me that children and their parents are spared from the constant bombardment of seductive advertising on unhealthy foods, Van Rijn told De Telegraaf.

Originally found athttp://www.theguardian.com/us

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