TODAY: Opportunity to strengthen EU legislation on foods for infants and young children

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IBFAN  recommendations  for strengthening the Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children and on food for special medical purposes

Tonight (14th November)  the EU Commission, Council and MEPs will meet for the third time  in an effort to find a common position.   Below are some  key points that IBFAN would like to see in the Regulation.


Click here for a Background briefing

Click here for a Presentation on the International Code and the EU which I will be presenting to the European Commission's Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and health this morning

Click here for our Press release following the Parliament debate in June

Click Here for Infant milks in the UK report by First Steps Nutrition


1 Protect optimal infant and young child feeding and parents' rights to  information that is free from commercial bias

The new regulation should state that the rules of composition, labelling and advertising of all foods for infants and young children should be in conformity with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World health Assembly Resolutions. 

2 Ensure responsible marketing

  1. There should be a comprehensive EFSA review, free from conflicts of interest, to establish whether there are nutritional benefits or risks of marketing so called “Growing up” and “Toddler” formulas.  See Notes below and click HERE for the  Infant Milks in the UK report (  which has a wealth of information about infant milks in the UK including on Page 65 (Table 17) a chart showing the amount of sugar in Growing Up milks.
  2. The proposal should ban all health and nutrition claims on foods for infants and young children.  
  3. The term “specialized nutrition’ should not be used.
  4. The World Health Assembly considers follow-on milks to be unnecessary products. If it is not possible to ban advertising of these products, baby pictures, claims and other idealizing text and images should not be permitted either on packaging or advertising. 
  5. Health workers should not be channels for promotional materials.
  6. Post market surveillance is an essential  safeguard which must be carried out independently of manufacturers.  

3 Ensure the safety of baby foods

  1. The safety of foods should take precedence over the free movement of goods. 
  2. MEPs should have greater scrutiny over the addition of ingredients and the precautionary principle should be used.  
  3. PRE-MARKET authorisation of ingredients, on the basis of  sound, independently funded and systematically reviewed evidence of both efficacy and safety, is an essential safeguard.  Company claims of  "History of Safe Use" are an insufficient basis to detect the serious adverse effects that can arise from novel ingredients. (2) There should be stricter safeguards on contaminants, pesticides and the use of Nano Technology in relation to all foods for infants and young children. Current legislation allows companies to add anything to infant formula and follow on formula provided a label is submitted. Evidence of efficacy is only needed when requested BEFORE placing a product with a new ingredient on the market.The safety and efficacy of probiotics in formulas is not proven, nor is the recommendation that these formulas be reconstituted with cool (40 degree) water rather than with 70 degree water as recommended by WHO and the EU.

Note 1

 Some risks identified in formulas for older babies

 A report by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) (16.08.2011) found that ‘toddler’ milk does not offer any advantage compared to reduced fat cow milk. “From a nutritional and physiological point of view these special toddler milks are not necessary”, says BfR President, Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel.   “The manufacturers of toddler milk drinks often refer to high consumption amounts on the packaging of their products. According to these recommended consumptions children would consume through children’s milk alone high amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients. Within the framework of the overall diet this would favour in the long-term an oversupply with all nutrients. From a nutritional physiological and health point of view this is problematic.” 

 The Italian Consumer Association Altroconsumo analysed these products and published a statement very similar to the German one in 2009.  

 A survey in 2010 by the Hong Kong Department of Health (HKSAR) found that “children who drank more milk (mainly formula milk) than the recommended volume generally consumed smaller amounts of grains, vegetables and fruits. Use of the bottle and parents’ misconceptions about the nutritional benefits of formula milk might have contributed to the high milk intake and the choice of milk.” Prolonged Bottle Use and Obesity at 5.5 Years of Age in US Children, Gooze et al,  J Pediatrics 2011, Sept; 159 (3):431-6

A survey by the German consumer centres on the products being sold as “Kindermilch” (“milk for children”) targeting the age from 12 months found that Kindermilch was up to four times more expensive than normal milk, costing parents up to 245 euros more each year. [1]






UK law paper12.11.12.pdf1.1 MB
Platform FINAL.ppt.pdf7.06 MB