Baby milk lobby criticises ‘ineffective’ new ad rules

The Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) has heavily criticised new plans to restrict the promotion of baby milks for being “ineffective” and claims the Government has already admitted that they will fail.

The group, which is a coalition of health and mothers groups including Baby Milk Action, says that revised regulations are “little better” than existing rules, which are “narrower than international standards and poorly enforced”.

The draft regulations, which were published by the Food Standards Agency earlier this week, aim to help the Government meet commitments made in its 2004 Public Health White Paper, which included improving breast feeding rates.

BFLG says the proposals still fail to acknowledge the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, which prohibits the marketing of all baby milks and follow-on formulas. The existing rules in the UK allow baby formula brands to promote follow-on formulas.

It also says that a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the new laws fails to mention that banning the advertising and promotion of such products could lead to an increase in breastfeeding. BFLG claims by omitting this information the Government is “effectively admitting the new law will do nothing to help”.

The assessment does look at the costs to the industry if it were to ban promotions and introduce a mandatory labelling criteria.

Mike Brady, campaigns and networking co-ordinator at Baby Milk Action, says/ “The draft law is very disappointing, showing industry profits continue to be put before infant health and mothers’ rights.”

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