Thursday, September 20, 2007

Safer formula campaign on Facebook

Those familiar with the World Health Assembly baby food marketing requirements that we monitor companies against and call for governments to enforce have the aim: "to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

I've written previously how this sometimes is missed in media coverage of our work, which can end up with a call for regulation of baby food companies being portrayed as an attack on mothers who use formula. See my blog on learning from the furore over the Wyeth/SMA promotion in OK! magazine linked to the celebrity Jordan at:

I said then that our call for accurate, independent information is to benefit mothers who use formula, for whatever reason, as well as to protect breastfeeding. Given the heat that can arise in discussions, we have launched a 'safer formula' campaign which we are inviting those who use formula to support and sign up to for updates on what is going on.

There are various blog entries here that are tagged with the 'safer formula', which can be called up by selecting the link at the side panel or the bottom of this entry.

I've added a separate Baby Milk Action group onto Facebook for those interested in keeping updated and discussing this aspect of our work, which can be accessed at:

Here is the description for it:

Baby Milk Action is a not-for-profit organisation that works to protect breastfeeding and to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if necessary.

It is a mother's decision how to feed her child and she has a right to accurate, independent information free from commercial pressure, in line with marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly.

We monitor companies and work for the WHA measures to be implemented in legislation and enforced.

We attend the Codex Alimentarius Commission which sets composition and labelling standards for infant formula and other baby foods.

We and our partners campaign for companies to make permanent price cuts to what they charge for formula - it is one of the products with the highest mark ups. In Italy an illegal price-fixing cartel was broken by government action.

We campaign for governments to improve independent sources of information on formula. Monitoring shows that companies do not provide objective information on their products. Nor is their information and instructions on preparation in line with World Health Organisation guidance to parents.

You can find information on our work to make formula-feeding safer at:

This group is intended for parents and carers who use formula and for health workers and provides links to where to find independent information and our campaigns.

Search for Baby Milk Action for our group on wider aspects of our work, such as protecting breastfeeding and the Nestlé boycott.

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