Thursday, July 26, 2007

Help to protect Little Jack

Big day for the campaign to strengthen the UK law.

Starting with the fun stuff. Partner organisations Save the Children, UNICEF and the National Childbirth Trust have produced an internet cartoon about protecting Little Jack from the Formula Man. You can watch the cartoon, play a game and send a message to the Minister of Health.

It doesn't matter where you are in the world. Infants and mothers need your help!

Go to this page to view the cartoon and take action:

Here's a screenshot:

Then we have the response from the Government to a question about strengthening the UK law. In the consultation launched by the UK Government there are two options: leave the law like it is or make minimal changes in response to a European Union Directive.

Dr. Lynne Jones MP wanted to know if a third option would be considered: implementing the World Health Assmebly marketing requirements, adopted in 1981 with the support of the UK Government as minimum requirements for all countries. This is from Hansard:

---Quote begins

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to extend the consultation on the partial regulatory impact assessment on the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (England) Regulations 2007 to obtain views on a third option of fully implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions on the health, social and environmental aspects of marketing breastmilk substitutes, giving these precedence over trade considerations; and if he will make a statement. [152498]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency launched, on 2 July, a 12-week public consultation on draft domestic regulations which will lay down rules about the composition, labelling and advertising of formulae requesting views from stakeholders on a range of issues. Any responses received, including those that suggest alternative options, will be considered as part of the consultation exercise. The agency will consider all responses to the consultation before finalising the regulations.

---quote ends

So the new Minister for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo, is basically saying implementation of the International Code will be considered if someone suggests it.

Well, we might just do that.

In 2002 the Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Government to implement the Code. Next year the Government has to report back. Could be embarassing unless we can save the Government from itself.

Members of Parliament have been signing a petition calling for Trading Standards to take action formula companies that continue to make claims on formula that are not permitted by the law. Unfortunately Parliament has broken up for a few months, just as this was getting started, but all the same, we hope Trading Standards to take note. See:

The welcome news that comes my way today is that one of the major supermarket chains is up in court tomorrow, being prosecuted for allegedly marketing infant formula illegally.

I'll say more about this soon. Until then, why not check out the illegal marketing practices by UK supermarkets reported to the monitoring project we run for the Baby Feeding Law Group. They do all deserve to be hauled up before a judge of course.

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