Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, coordinates monitoring of the baby food industry for the Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG), a coalition of 23 health worker and mother support groups working to protect breastfeeding and to protect babies fed on formula.
An example of the advertisement, headlined ‘Your baby’s natural immune system. We’ve done the research, he’s doing the development’ appeared in a celebrity magazine (Reveal Magazine 18-24 August 2007). While the investigation was on-going, the advertisement continued to appear (pictured above in Mother and Baby March 2008) and was exposed in the May 2008 BFLG monitoring report (page 5) available at http://www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk/monitoring.html
Mike Brady said:
The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981 and subsequent Resolutions have addressed questions of interpretation and changes in scientific knowledge and marketing practices. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly called on the UK government to implement the Code, but despite the chance to do so when introducing new regulations in 2007, the government ignored this and advice from health experts, including its own Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.
Baby Milk Action is supporting the ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN, calling for political leaders to protect breastfeeding and to protect babies fed on formula. See: http://www.onemillioncampaign.org/
For further information contact Mike Brady on: 07986 736179 or Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action Policy Director, on: 07786 523493
Notes for editors
Danone purchased NUMICO, owners of the Nutricia, Milupa and Cow & Gate brands at the end of 2007. After being contacted by Baby Milk Action, Danone indicated that it would conduct a 'root and branch' review of NUMICO brand marketing practices. This was welcomed, but in its communications Danone refused to accept the need to bring policies and practices into line with the International Code and Resolutions. Since the takeover, it appears that marketing of NUMICO brands in the UK and around the world has become more aggressive.
The Baby Feeding Law Group welcomes genuine improvements in the composition of formula, but only if an ingredient has been unequivocally demonstrated to be essential and beneficial by an independent review of data, which must include a substantial proportion of independently-funded research. Then it should be a mandatory ingredient in ALL breast milk substitutes - not flagged up with a claim for commercial advantage. The BFLG position is clear that follow-on milks are not necessary and should never be promoted.