The Government faces a potential clash with the European Commission over proposals to liberalise the promotion of baby milk and follow-on formulas to parents.
The Government opposes plans in the EC’s Directive on Infant Formulae and Follow-on Formulae that will make it easier for manufacturers to make health claims about products on promotional material and packaging. Expert representatives from the UK, including the Food Standards Agency, and other interested parties from across Europe, met on March 11 to discuss possible changes to the directive.
The Baby Feeding Law Group, which represents a number of lobby groups including Baby Milk Action, says the directive will weaken the position of baby-food and advertising watchdogs. It says manufacturers are already flouting the World Health Assembly code on breast milk substitutes and that very little can be done to enforce the code.
The group has called for changes to advertising and marketing codes to prevent manufacturers making health claims. It received the support of Labour MP Lynne Jones, who tabled an Early Day Motion last May (MW May 13, 2004)
It is understood that the UK has received widespread support from other member states and from non-governmental organisations such as the Royal College of Nurses.