Transport for London: artisan cheese tube advert banned for promoting an unhealthy diet

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Other banned items are olive oil, pesto and soy sauce

London's transport network has banned an advert featuring an artisan cheese after it was deemed too unhealthy.

Online cheesemonger Cheesegeek said the policy was "extremely simplistic" after Transport for London (TfL) said last month that the cheese aspect of the advert did not comply with its advertising standards.

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Edward Hancock, CEO of the artisan cheese start-up Cheesegeek and former fund manager, said: "The whole reason for TfL's policy is to prevent childhood obesity but how they think artisan cheese will promote child obesity is incredulous.

"We were initially given the go-ahead a couple of months ago, but at the end August, we were told to tell them the saturated fat content of the cheese in the picture, and they came back saying it violated their standards.

"It is extremely frustrating and simplistic way of categorising food. It suggests TfL passengers aren't intelligent enough to understand the complexities of a balanced diet."

He added: "What seems extremely unfair is that alcohol is allowed to be advertised on the network, as well as lots of other unhealthy food.

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"We spent months working on this and it's incredibly frustrating."

The posters were designed by Workspace, the business premises, and read: "From crunching numbers to selling cheese online, it all happens at Workspace."

The tube was the only place Workspace planned to advertise as it is only based in London.

A spokesman for Workspace said: "We'll still be running this ad online and across social media, but it's a shame we're not able to do so on buses or the Tube."

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A TfL spokesperson added: "The advert does not comply with our advertising policy, which uses the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) model to define foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

"The rest of the advertising campaign for Workspace was deemed compliant and four different creatives will be running on our network."

TfL said advertised foods could be considered for an exception if there was evidence the product did not contribute to high fat, salt and sugar diets in children.

Other foods banned on TfL adverts include olive oil, pesto and soy sauce.

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