I wrote yesterday about the report on the UK from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child which called for the marketing regulations for baby milk to be implemented. Having received evidence from the monitoring project we coordinate on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group it commented that it: "it is concerned that implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes continues to be inadequate and that aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes remains common." See:
Three weeks on from that report we see the response from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an industry-funded, self-regulatory body handed responsibility for regulating print and broadcast advertising.
It has just cleared this Danone television advertisement for its Cow & Gate brand of formula:
Baby Milk Action has issued a press release about this which can be found at:
For a UK audience I would say the ASA ruling is contemptuous two-fingered salute to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
In 2002 the Committee also called on the UK government to implement the marketing requirements.
The government is conducting a review of the regulations. We will continue to submit monitoring evidence to this exposing new company marketing practices and the action (or lack of it) by the authorities.
As a footnote, the ASA has upheld complaints against a Nestlé advertisement for Maggi noodles broadcast on Nepali TV in the UK. It objected to health claims used to promote the noodles. See:
---Extract from ASA ruling on Nestlé Maggi Noodles
We considered that, because we had seen no evidence that the protein in Maggi Noodles would "help to build strong muscles and bones" we considered that the ad was misleading and that Nepali TV should not have broadcast it.
Because we had seen no evidence that the calcium in Maggi Noodles would "help to build strong muscles and bones", we considered that the ad was misleading and that Nepali TV should not have broadcast it in the UK.
Nestlé said there had not been any intention to broadcast it in the UK and the ASA noted that: "Nestle said the ad had been approved for broadcast and complied with the necessary legal requirements in Bangladesh."
Which just goes to show how important health claims are as marketing tools for companies and how important it is to have minimum standards in a globalized world.