Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Help strengthen the UK baby food law

You can help to strengthen the UK baby food law by sending a message to the Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint MP.

We have a suggested letter below. We want the law to be brought into line with World Health Assembly marketing requirements, which are minimum standards for all countries. Companies are called on to abide by them independently of government measures. But they don't.

It takes laws, monitoring and enforcement to get companies to change. And even then, they push things to the limit. So despite the crackdown on illegal claims in the UK, companies continue to make them. See my analysis of the new labels from:

Heinz at:

NUMICO/Cow & Gate at:

Wyeth/SMA at:

Here is what you can do.

Write to Caroline Flint, Min. for Public Health Minister, Dept. of Health, 79 Whitehall, London SW1 2NS (dhmail(at) along the following lines:

I am very pleased that Government intends to strengthen the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations and hope that the new law will be fully in line with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. In particular it should:

  • ban all promotion of breasmilk substitutes (including follow-on formula),

  • prohibit companies from seeking direct or indirect contact with mothers (including a clear ban on company 'carelines', pamphlets, mailshots, emails and promotional websites),

  • prohibit all idealizing text and images from all breastmilk substitutes,

  • prohibit company-produced or sponsored materials on infant feeding,

  • require any permitted claims to be placed at the back of the package near the nutrition panel in specified text,

  • require clear warnings about the fact infant formula is not a sterile product and may contain harmful bacteria, alongside clear instructions on how to reduce risks from possible intrinsic contamination.


Do let us know if you get a response.

If you haven't already done so, you can also sign the Breastfeeding Manifesto petition, which includes a call for bringing the law into line with international standards.

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