Government overturns baby milk ban proposal

A proposed ban on the advertising of manufactured baby milk has been abandoned by the Government. Regulations which were laid before Parliament this week allows the existing code of practice on advertising to continue.

The new Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Reg-ulations will allow the manufacturers of baby milk to continue advertising in baby care publications distributed in hospitals. Advertising for formula milk has been criticised by the World Health Organisation.

A year ago, the Government drew up proposals to ban the advertisements but Food Minister Angela Browning reversed the decision after consultations.

About ú108m of manufactured baby milk is sold each year in Britain and campaigners accused the Government of bowing to commercial pressure from manufacturers to keep their advertising outlets.

The pressure group Baby Milk Action, which encourages mothers to breastfeed their babies because it claims this is healthier, said it would be urging MPs to oppose the new regulations which implement an EU Directive.

A spokesman said: “This is very bad news. Forty-eight major health, development and consumer bodies, including the British Medical Association and the British Paediatric Association, supported the advertising ban.

“Infant health must be put before commercial interests,” the spokesman adds. “Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their babies because research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to become ill.”

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