The newly formed coalition Government in the UK has prioritised cutting public expenditure and the deficit and has also launched a campaign to scrap or amend unnecessary or ineffective legislation. The public are being invited to submit suggestions.
Baby Milk Action is suggesting the Government simplify the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations. Currently advertising and promotion of infant formula is prohibited, but follow-on formula can be advertised, a double standard with financial and health implications. In addition, the information on infant formula is regulated, but companies can make claims about health benefits on follow-on formula labels with impunity. Bringing follow-on formula within the same restrictions as infant formula will protect breastfeeding and babies fed on formula. You can support this suggestion by clicking on the 5th star under the heading 'Add a Rating' and leaving comments on the Government website - click here.
When the last government was revising the Regulations, public bodies such as Trading Standards and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition called for the ban on promoting infant formula to be extended to all breastmilk substitutes, including follow-on formulas. This was not done. In a review commissioned by the last government, Trading Standards and the umbrella body submitted evidence and stated: "One of the major problems for enforcement officers is the use of advertising and promotional material which blurs the distinction between follow-on formula and infant formula."
Prohibiting the promotion of breastmilk substitutes does not prevent them being sold. Formula will still be available for those that need it and our proposals will ensure those who use formula have the information they need to reduce risks.
Health experts, including the Baby Feeding Law Group, a coalition of 23 health worker and mother support organsiations, called for the law to be brought into line with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. Baby Milk Action prepared a report (left) that was submitted to the consultation on the law that took place in 2006 that sets out the changes required (click here to access). This references studies by public bodies such as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence that show savings that could be made to the National Health Service by small increases in breastfeeding rates. Simplifying the formula marketing regulations in the way we are proposing, would help to achieve this.
In the General Election in May 2010, the Liberal Democrats, who are now part of the coalition government, supported our pledge saying they will work for the International Code and Resolutions to be implemented in the UK and elsewhere. Now it is time to act on this pledge.
Click here to give your support to our proposal for simplifying the law by clicking on the 5th star under 'Add a rating' and leave a comment.
Promotion of artificial feeding takes many forms. Our partner in the BFLG, the National Childbirth Trust, is currently highlighting how exam bodies are even playing a role in promoting formula and attacking those who call for companies to abide by the international marketing standards. See the NCT press release at: