Email update 22 February 2017
Parliamentary debate on protecting families from misleading baby milk marketing – contact your MP
Members of Parliament in the UK will shortly discuss the marketing of baby milks, feeding bottles and teats.
Now is the time to contact your MP to explain why the UK law needs to be improved. Baby Milk Action has resources to help you explain how bringing it into line with international minimum standards will help ensure all parents have the accurate information they need on how to feed their babies.
The debate is in the context of a Bill tabled by Alison Thewliss MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities.
The Feeding Products for Babies and Children (Advertising and Promotion) Bill passed its first reading last November (when it was agreed to draft the law).
The draft text will now be discussed in the second reading (scheduled for 24 February) and, if passed, will go to Committee stage for line-by-line scrutiny before returning to Parliament for the third reading to approve it to go to the House of Lords for debate and approval there.
Private Bills usually need Government backing to be allocated the time to complete this process. However, the debates provide an opportunity to raise the need for legislation and can have an impact. We need MPs to be as well informed as possible.
For further information and details of how to contact your MP, see our campaign page at:
It is important to be clear the Bill aims to protect all who use formula, ensuring they have accurate information about products. It is not about pressuring mothers to breastfeed.
As we explain on our campaign page, companies are contradicting information on formula from independent sources such as NHS Choices. Independent information is available, but is drowned out by misleading marketing messages.
See below for more on why parents who use formula need better regulations.
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Why parents who use formula need better marketing regulations
Baby Milk Action is preparing a monitoring report profiling the major UK formula, bottle and teat companies and retailers. Company profiles will be posted to our website shortly. Many thanks to everyone who has sent us evidence of marketing practices.
We explain some of the reasons why better marketing regulations are needed in an extract here:
For example, NHS Choices and other experts say that there is no need to feed babies with follow-on formula and milks for older babies (marketed by companies as "growing-up milks" and "toddler milks"). Babies who are not breastfed or receiving expressed or donor milk should be fed on infant formula to 12 months and then ordinary (pastuerised) cows', sheep's or goats' milk.
Companies try to prolong their sales by moving parents along their range of products.
Assessment by NHS Choices of various products marketed for common feeding problems, such as Comfort formulas for colic, is there is no evidence for the claimed benefits.
This doesn't stop companies promoting them as if they are necessary.
Other independent experts have documented that Danone markets the same Comfort powder under two different brand names: Aptamil and Cow & Gate.
Parents who buy the Aptamil packs pay £1.49 extra just for the name on the box.
If you agree that independent information and better regulations are needed then visit our website to find out more.
To help Baby Milk Action campaign, please consider joining if you are not already a member, make a donation or visit our online Virtual Shop (links on the right).
Tigers film released in Japan
Tigers is a film by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic based on the true story of a Nestlé baby milk salesman taking on the industry with the help of IBFAN (the International Baby Food Action Network) when he realises that babies are dying as a result of his work pressuring doctors to promote formula.
The film is in cinemas in Japan from 4 March. Find out more and watch the trailer at:
This much anticipated film has so far only been available at film festivals and special events.
Special screenings are coming up Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil.
Sign up for our alerts on the Tigers page for news.
Contact us if you are interested in organising your own special event.
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