Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Send a message of support to the UK Government as it decides on formula marketing regulations

The UK Government will imminently make a decision on new Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations.

All bodies and organisations whose primary concern is health and mothers' rights, including the Government's own advisors, are calling for World Health Assembly standards to be implemented in full in the regulations. This will help to protect breastfeeding and to protect babies fed on formula. Many thanks if you have already sent a message to the Government. Now please send one more.

The Government is reportedly under intense pressure from the baby food industry to stick with existing weak measures. The industry body has said: "We believe the existing regulations are sufficient." Existing regulations allow widespread idealizing promotion, which undermines breastfeeding and does not provide those who use formula with the information they need.

Please send a message of solidarity to the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, and the Minister for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo MP.

You can find further information and a form for submitted a suggested message at:

Messages of support from anywhere in the world are extremely welcome and valuable. Our campaign of support for the Philippines helped to raise awareness of the industry attack on the regulations there, generate publicity, boost our partners campaigning nationally and ultimately helped achieve the significant protection won as the Supreme Court lifted the restraining order on the regulations. See the Philippines link for blogs as the campaign unfolded.

If you happen to have Alan Johnson or Dawn Primarolo as your Member of Parliament, why not contact them locally as their constituent?

Yet another violation report today demonstrates why UK regulations need strengthening. I've written in the past about the Wyeth/SMA television advertising campaign. Now it seems that the company is contacting mothers to ask them to complete an on-line 'survey', which as one mother reports: "was basically about SMA nutrition, its advertising, and some really pathetic questions such as How does it make you feel (and one answer was, I quote, "warm and happy")."

As I wrote when analyzing the advertising campaign, warm and fuzzy feelings are not a good basis for making decisions on what will be the sole food for a child during its most important phase of development outside the womb. See:

So please do send a message to the UK Government. Simply go to this page, enter your email and name and submit the message:

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