A Freedom of Information request in London has revealed adverts using traditional strawberries and cream on the famed London Underground tube system have been banned.
A ban on junk food adverts across London’s transport network came into force in February in a drive to combat childhood obesity.
Banned foods include breakfast cereals, yoghurts, cakes, pizza, bread and sausages – and cream.
Taxpayers have been left with a £16,155 bill to remove the ads, event though one official; asked, it was revealed in a leaked email: ‘Can we just remove the cream?’
Christopher Snowdon, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, slammed the decision: “This ban was sold to the public as a clampdown on junk food advertising,” he said.
s“We can now see that it extends far beyond junk food and even includes non-food advertising.”
“As a result, TfL (London Transport authority) has had to spend thousands of pounds airbrushing perfectly harmless images to comply with its own puritanical rules.”
The ban on junk food advertising runs across all transport in London and was introduced by the unpopular Mayor Sadiq Khan who wanted to tackle the ‘ticking timebomb’ of child obesity.
Food companies have argued that the ban wrongly targets healthy items. Grocery delivery service Farmdrop was stopped from advertising free-range butter, eggs and bacon because of the rules. It said: “We were pretty shocked.”
It is estimated the ban could cost TfL £13million a year in lost advertising revenues.