Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gordon, don't put company profits before infant health

The UK Government has published draft legislation for the marketing of baby milks.

Looking at it I wish to echo these words, stating that the if the Government introduces such legislation it is: "contrary to all its statements in support of an advertisement ban over the last 13 years, and contradicts also the advice given to it from major health bodies including the British Medical Association, the British Paediatric Association, and the Royal College of Midwives; and calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to rethink its approach instead of simply responding to UK baby milk companies’ promotions.”

These words were spoken by Tony Blair MP as leader of the Labour Party opposition when the then government introduced the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995. Sadly the criticism continues to be valid today as the new legislation fails to implement the marketing requirements introduced by the World Health Assembly in 1981.

You can find the detail of our criticism of the proposed legislation at:

The Government Tony Blair led has failed to heed the information and advice from health advocates in preparing the new draft regulations and we are faced with trying to shift the Government of his successor, Gordon Brown, during the consultation process.

There is another highly relevant quote on our press release that we hope Gordon Brown will consider. It is contained in the Progress of Nations report from UNICEF, published in 1999. UNICEF examined why breastfeeding rates are increasing in some countries, but decreasing or remaining static in others (as they are in the UK when it comes to duration). This is what they found: "Breastfeeding gains stem from initiatives to publicize the benefits to both mother and child and to prohibit the advertising and promotion of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats."

Well, unless Gordon Brown's new government sorts things out and listens to health advocates in the consultation, companies will continue to be able to advertise and promote breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats in the UK. We will see in the coming months if his government will be different or will continue to put baby food company profits before other considerations. See:

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