Yesterday the law implementing the European Union Directive on Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula was published. The advertising and promotion of infant formula and follow-on formula to the general public is forbidden, including point-of-sale promotion.
If this is surprising news, then let me quickly add that I am talking about the law in Luxembourg.
In the UK the Baby Feeding Law Group, a coalition of health worker and mother support groups, called on the government to treat infant formula and follow-on formula the same and prohibit advertising and promotion, as required by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Assembly. The government's own Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and LACORS, the umbrella body for Trading Standards officers who have to enforce the law, called for the same thing in their responses to the government's consultation on implementing the EU Directive.
We argued that as the Directive explicitly states its aim is the implementation of the International Code the government could protect the right to independent information on infant feeding by prohibiting the promotion of all formula advertising (click here if you have the idea that advertising is providing useful information). The government claimed that it did not have that power. Policy makers in Luxembourg clearly see things differently.