Monday

UK Ministers under pressure from formula industry not to strengthen marketing regulations

The Sunday Express ran an article yesterday suggesting that the UK Government is going to heed the advice of health advocates and prohibit the advertising of follow-on milks as it implements an EU Directive on Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula marketing. This would bring the UK some way into line with World Health Assembly marketing requirements adopted over 26 years ago. Better late than never, but don't hold your breath as it is not yet clear if the report is correct.

And as the Sunday Express reports, the Public Health Minister "Dawn Primarolo has been under intense pressure from milk manufacturers not to legislate." And: "A spokesman for the Infant and Dietetic Food Association said last night: “We believe the existing regulations are sufficient."

See:
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/24113/Health-minister-to-ban-baby-milk-ads

As I reported here in September, Dawn Primarolo, shared a platform with Nestlé at an event sponsored by the worst of the baby food companies (on a global scale) hosted at the Labour Party Conference. See:
http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/2007/09/nestle-labour-party.html

Nestlé has twice tried and failed to launch itself into the UK mainstream formula market in recent years. The UK is about the only country where it doesn't market its mainstream formula - here it has only specialised formulas at present. It is currently trying to enter the market by attempting to persuade midwives to accept sponsorship for materials ostensibly about breastfeeding. See:
http://www.babymilkaction.org/resources/yqsanswered/yqanestle09.html

So it is not yet clear whether the pressure from the established UK companies and the cheque book of Nestlé will sway Ministers over the advice of health experts, including the Government's own Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

We should know at the end of the week when we expect the Food Standards Agency to publish its response to a consultation on its draft revision of the law. The draft was widely condemned by health experts as insufficient. For further details see the report we produced on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group: Protecting breastfeeding - Protecting babies fed on formula. Available at:
http://www.babymilkaction.org/shop/publications01.html#bflgsubmission

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