Monitoring project stops illegal Tesco promotion

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Baby Milk Action began to receive reports of a Tesco “Big Price Drop” promotion on infant formula at the end of September and posted a report on the new BFLG website. We also contacted Tesco and Trading Standards.

Tesco contacted us a few days later (3 October): 

“The Baby Milk lines were accidently included in a list of price drop lines. This was identified on Saturday by the business ahead of the campaign launching on Monday.... There is currently no red or yellow price reduction point of sale or any “Big Price Drop” point of sale either on line or in store and we are confident all the due diligence measures have been issued to stores to prevent this.”

All well and good - except further reports of the “Big Price Drop” point-of-sale promotional materials continued to come in until 20 October.

Despite this Trading Standards seem to be satisfied with Tesco simply apologising for what is criminal activity: a violation of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations. 

This is not the first time Tesco has apologised for breaking the law. In 2009 it illegally advertised SMA infant formula on its website with club card points and in its catalogue, where it promoted the formula as having “the healthiest nutrients”. Again, it claimed this to be an inadvertent mistake. In 2005 it admitted that in-store promotional staff refer to infant formula, again prohibited by law.

If Trading Standards took retailers to court for breaking the law - particularly for repeat offenses - and courts levied the applicable fines of thousands of pounds per incident then perhaps they would learn to stop making ”mistakes” and save the rest of us time and money reporting them.


Infant Formula Explained films provide independent information

Baby Milk Action produced the DVD Infant Formula Explained with MarkIt TV on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group. The main 25-minute programme features experts explaining about formula to give health workers the information and the confidence they need to answer questions from parents and carers (extract below).

Click here for other clips.

A shorter 7-minute programme is for use with carers and parents who have decided to formula feed (and health workers with less time available). There is also a 10-minute film on how to make up powdered formula in line with World Health Organisation guidance to reduce the risks from possible contamination with harmful bacteria (you can watch an extract online).

The DVD is suitable for use in UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative accredited hospitals and is purchased with a public-performance licence allowing it to be used with groups of health workers and for health workers to use with parents and carers who have decided to use formula.

The DVD has already been purchased for use by individuals, hospitals, PCTs and universities. Although some of the information is UK specific, it has also been purchased for use in other parts of the world, including North America, Australia and Hong Kong.



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