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Take action to stop violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in the UK by sending a message of support to the government.


Send a message of solidarity to the UK Government

Please send a message to the UK Government. Click here to go direct to our suggested message.


Baby food companies in the UK violate the marketing requirements for baby foods in a systematic way. They target parents directly, encourage health workers to promote their products, make idealizing claims about formula that undermine breastfeeding and cause confusion over the differences between brands as they each claim theirs is the best and they deny those who use formula essential information on reducing risks.

You can see an overview of company strategies in our four-page pamphlet Hard Sell Formula.
Hard Sell Formula

The Government is now finalizing legislation to regulate the marketing of formula. All those whose primary concern is infant health and mothers' rights are calling for the Government to implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions. This includes the Departments of Health's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the coordinating body for Trading Standards Officers who will have to enforce the legislation, health professional bodies and mother support groups and UN representatives.

We prepared the report Protecting breastfeeding - Protecting babies fed on formula on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group for the Government's consultation on the regulations.

This is also endorsed by the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition.

BFLG report

However, the Government is under pressure from the industry to do nothing. The UK industry body has stated: "We believe the existing regulations are sufficient." See the Campaigns Coordinator's blog for details.

With the existing regulations a Department of Health survey has found that 34% of mothers incorrectly believe that infant formula is the same or almost the same as breastfeeding. See Myths stop women giving babies the best start in life.

According to the Government's National Infant Feeding Survey, 9 out of 10 mothers who stopped breastfeeding by 6 weeks said they wanted to breastfeed for longer, as did 40% of those who breastfed for 6 months. The UK has the second to bottom breastfeeding rates in Europe.

Companies are also failing to provide parents with objective information on their products as they all claim their particular brand is better and closer to breastmilk than competing brands (see the Campaigns Coordinator's blog). They fail to warn that powdered infant formula is not sterile or explain the simple steps required to reduce the risks from possible contamination with harmful bacteria. See our press release: New UK formula labels lack correct information - calls for better warnings and instructions.

The Secretary of State for Health has spoken repeatedly about the importance of preventative interventions. Click here for an example.

Suggested letter to the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson MP, and Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo MP (with a copy to Baby Milk Action).

Click here to open the suggested email in your email programme, or enter your details below and submit the form. Feel free to adapt as you wish. You may wish to add information of where in the world you are writing from and your interest in this issue.

This campaign is now closed.

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