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General News of Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Alcoholic beverages can only be advertised from 8pm-6am – Deputy FDA boss

Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, Seth Seaneke has reiterated the stance of the authority on the regulation of media advertisements related to alcoholic beverages.

The Food and Drugs Authority in January 2018 restricted the advertisement and live presenter mention of alcoholic beverages in the media to periods between 8pm and 6am.

Speaking at the 3rd Africa Leadership Conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Mr. Seaneke explained that based on research conducted by the Food and Drugs Authority, children are expected to be put to bed and be awake by 8 pm and 6 am, respectively. Thus, the hours chosen are the most appropriate for the airing of such contents.

He said, "...you're not supposed to advertise alcohol before 8pm and after 6am...it's based on the fact that children are supposed to sleep early. The first thing is that we have a lot of harmful effects of alcohol and the fact that we're supposed to let our children sleep early so that they don't hear and make it a lifestyle to take alcohol..."

He stated that the authority has done its best in ensuring that children are not exposed to the rather harmful effects of such advertisements but the onus lies on parents to enforce related rules at home.

"...With regards to alcohol advertisement, I think that there is also a lot of responsibility on parents...We cannot as a regulator reach everywhere so parents are also supposed to support." Mr Seaneke added.

In a panel discussion at the event, Mr. Seaneke, also noted that not only has the FDA imposed restrictions on the airing period for such alcoholic beverages, it has also moved to ban some drugs which they deem harmful to the health of Ghanaians.

Meanwhile, advertisement of alcoholic beverages and some herbal drugs have become more rampant over the past few months and have flooded radio, television and even social media pages, regardless of the restrictions by the FDA.

The use of social media to advertise unapproved products has become a cause for concern for the Authority and a section of the public.

Admitting to the difficulties in regulating such products, Mr. Seaneke and other panelists noted that the activities of social media influencers have made the work of Food and Drugs Authorities in Africa more difficult than it used to be.

The panel discussion was based on the topic, “Brand blocking: Regulations and threats to consumer choices and goods”. Panelists were Gail Schimmel, CEO of Advertising Regulatory Board in South Africa, Mrs. Philomena Iyoha, Acting Registrar of APCON, Nigeria, Seth Seaneke, Deputy CEO, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana and Ron Cregan Founder of Endangered Species.