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Hunker was wondering if anyone fancied forwarding this to their MP?

(18 Posts)
VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:39:49

It'd help, I think. A bit. Hopefully.

Thanks, all )

This is an email I received earlier today:

This is to alert you to new information from Baby Milk Action.

We are promoting a campaign action in support of UK mothers and
infants. If you are outside the UK, you may still find it of
interest, otherwise please do check out my blog for recent
international news:
http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com

If you are in the UK please circulate this email and contact your
Member of Parliament asking him or her to sign Early Day Motion 1963
to enforce the existing infant formula marketing regulations (details
with the on-line version). For the wider campaign to protect mothers
rights to independent information and support breastfeeding, see
http://www.breastfeedingmanifesto.org.uk

If you have received this from mikebrady@babymilkaction.org and do
not wish to receive future alerts, please reply with 'delete' as the
subject. If you want future alerts to be sent to a different address,
make the subject 'change' and give new and old addresses.

Parliamentary campaign launched to enforce infant formula marketing
regulations

Press release 20 July 2007

See on-line version for links to supporting documents and images at:
http://www.babymilkaction.org/press/press20july07.html

A Parliamentary campaign has been launched calling on the regulatory
authorities to enforce infant formula labelling regulations on baby
food companies that continue to flout the requirements introduced
over 12 years ago. Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, tabled
an Early Day Motion yesterday calling for offending products to be
relabelled or removed from sale and for prosecutions to be brought
for willful flouting of the regulations. The Food Standards Agency
wrote to companies last year to remind them of the labelling
provisions contained in the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula
Regulations 1995, but companies have both continued to sell formula
that does not comply and to launch new labels that do not comply.
Last month a Government Minister, responding to a question from Dr.
Jones, said that authorities had been encourage to enforce the
legislation. However, no legal action has yet been taken.

Dr Lynne Jones MP said: "If companies do not follow the law, then the
law has to be enforced."

The regulations set out that only 6 claims are permitted on infant
formula labels, such as sucrose free or iron enriched. The Food
Standards Agency (FSA) warned companies that only these claims may be
used and examples of non-compliant claims were given, as follows:
"Omega 3 LCPs for development. Nucleotides help growth and the immune
system. Beta-carotene helps the immune system, Prebiotics supporting
baby's natural defences, Closer than ever to breast milk." Trading
Standards officers have been encouraged to act with a guidance note
being brought to their attention. However, formula with these claims
remains on sale over 6 months later and new labels have been launched
by the major manufacturers with similar claims and other idealizing
text and images prohibited by the regulations.

According to a Government survey, 34% of mothers incorrectly believe
that formula is the same, or almost the same, as breastmilk (ref:
Myths stop mothers giving their babies the best start in life).

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action,
said:

"It is a disgrace that companies have put illegal labels on the
market for the past 12 years and got away with it. Worse still that
having been reminded of the law's provisions by the Food Standards
Agency, the major companies have shown their contempt by launching
new labels that break those provisions. Legal action by Trading
Standards officers is well overdue and we welcome the encouragement
the Government has given them to enforce the legislation. It
shouldn't be necessary for Parliament to campaign for a law to be
enforced, but as there has been no legal action, we very much hope
the initiative from Lynne Jones MP will have an effect and we call on
all MPs to sign the EDM. The Government is currently conducting a
revision of the law and we call on it to bring this weak law into
line with international standards, close loopholes and ensure there
are more effective enforcement mechanisms."

Labels launched since the FSA wrote to companies are shown on the
website, with hi-resolution versions suitable for printing. Here is
an extract from the analysis of the text and images.

Aptamil - Claims not on permitted list:

"Immunofortis" (a made up word, implying it strengthens the immune
system).

"Inspired by breastmilk."

Wyeth/SMA - Claims not on permitted list:

"New improved protein balance."

"Easily digested."

Cow & Gate - Claims not on permitted list:

"With prebiotic care."

Heinz/Farley's - Claims not on permitted list:

"With omega-3 LCPs", "Nucleotides" (see note).

Hansard (20 June 2007) records the Parliamentary Question put by
Lynne Jones MP and the response from the then Minister for Public
Health, Caroline Flint MP.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she
is taking to encourage relevant authorities to prosecute companies
that continue to make claims on infant formula labels and promotional
material for baby milk which are non-compliant with current
legislation. [143720]

Caroline Flint: The local authorities coordinators of regulatory
services issued updated guidance in late 2006 to clarify the types of
claims about infant formula that are prohibited. All local authority
enforcement offices have been made aware of the new guidance and
encouraged to enforce the United Kingdom legislation to ensure
companies comply with the rules on claims.

Early Day Motion 1963, tabled at the close of business yesterday,
states:

?That this House notes that baby food companies were reminded in 2006
by the Food Standards Agency of the labelling requirements of the
Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995 and, that
according to the Minister for Public Health in the Answer of 20th
June 2007, Official Report, column 1919W, on infant foods: labelling,
local authority enforcement officers have been encouraged to enforce
the legislation; and therefore calls on the local authorities in
areas Wyeth/SMA, Heinz/Farley's, Aptamil, Cow and Gate, Hipp and all
other companies continuing to market infant formula with claims,
idealising text and images prohibited by the current legislation are
to order immediately the re-labelling or removal of offending
products and to bring prosecutions for the wilful contempt these
companies have shown for the legislation?.

Claims made by the companies and described by them as proven
sometimes do not stand up to scrutiny. For example, LCPs added to
formula are claimed to benefit brain and eye development, but an
authoritative review by the Cochrane Library found this not to be
substantiated by research. Last year, the Advertising Standards
Authority told Cow & Gate to stop making blanket claims about
prebiotics strengthening the immune system as the company was unable
to provide substantiating evidence.

The Baby Feeding Law Group, an adhoc group of health professional and
lay organizations working to bring UK and EU legislation into line
with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions is calling for the Government
to revise the law so that those few claims that are permitted must
not be used for promotional purposes, but should be points of
information with the list of ingredients on the back of the label. In
other words, no banners and flashes.

The advertising provisions of the legislation reference the
conditions for labels and so any advertisements with non-compliant
claims are also illegal.

Claims made by the companies and described by them as proven
sometimes do not stand up to scrutiny. For example, LCPs added to
formula are claimed to benefit brain and eye development, but an
authoritative review by the Cochrane Library found this not to be
substantiated by research. Last year, the Advertising Standards
Authority told Cow & Gate to stop making blanket claims about
prebiotics strengthening the immune system as the company was unable
to provide substantiating evidence.

The Baby Feeding Law Group, an adhoc group of health professional and
lay organizations working to bring UK and EU legislation into line
with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions is calling for the Government
to revise the law so that those few claims that are permitted must
not be used for promotional purposes, but should be points of
information with the list of ingredients on the back of the label. In
other words, no banners and flashes.

The advertising provisions of the legislation reference the
conditions for labels and so any advertisements with non-compliant
claims are also illegal. In 2003 Birmingham Trading Standards brought
a successful prosecution against Wyeth/SMA for illegal advertising of
infant formula. The Judge said Wyeth was guilty of a 'cynical and
deliberate breach of the regulations'. Trading Standards officers
have also stopped repeated illegal promotion of infant formula in
supermarkets, but no prosecutions have yet been brought.

For further information contact: Mike Brady on 07986 736179 or using
mikebready@babymilkaction.org

Notes for editors

1. The LACORS guidance referred to by the Minister for Public Health
makes it explicit that only 6 claims are permitted on labels and the
ban on health claims includes the following widely used examples:
Omega 3 LCPs for development. Nucleotides help growth and the immune
system. Beta-carotene helps the immune system, Prebiotics supporting
baby's natural defences, Closer than ever to breast milk.

2. The UK Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995 are a
partial implementation of the World Health Assembly International
Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, adopted in 1981 with the
support of the UK. The Assembly regularly calls for governments to
take action to implement the Code and subsequent Resolutions. In
2005, after evidence was presented by Baby Milk Action and partners,
the Assembly said in Resolution 58.32 that it was: ?Concerned that
nutrition and health claims may be used to promote breast-milk
substitutes as superior to breastfeeding?.

3. The UK has breastfeeding rates amongst the lowest in the
industrialised world. Despite government commitments to improve
breastfeeding rates there has been little change, with initiation
rates of just 76%, meaning over a quarter of infants receive no
breastmilk at all. Breastfeeding rates then decline rapidly as the
promotion exposed in Baby Milk Action?s recently launched Hard Sell
Formula pamphlet undermines breastfeeding and encourages mothers to
use formula (available at www.babymilkaction.org). In the UK few
infants are breastfed at 6 months. Government figures show just 48%
are breastfed at 6 WEEKS.

4. The UK Baby Feeding Law Group is an adhoc group of health
professional and lay organizations working to bring UK and EU
legislation into line with the International Code of Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions. Its
members are: The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, the
Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, the
Association of Radical Midwives, Baby Milk Action, the Breastfeeding
Network, the Food Commission, the Community Practitioners and Health
Visitors? Association, Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, La
Leche League (GB), Little Angels, Midwives Information and Resource
Service, the National Childbirth Trust, the Royal College of
Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of
Paediatrics and Child Health and the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative.

5. In its Public Health White Paper, Choosing Health, the Government
stated: ?Further action will include the review of the Infant Formula
and Follow-on Formula Regulations (1995) with a view to further
restrict the advertising of infant formula. We will continue to press
for amendments to the EU Directive on infant formula and follow-on
formula.? While the Government did push for changes to the EU
Directive, its efforts largely failed. However, legal experts agree
that the Directive does not prevent the Government taking action to
protect health by introducing World Health Assembly marketing
requirements in UK law. A consultation on revising the law has been
launched.

6. The home authority for Wyeth/SMA has apparently indicated it will
not consider taking action on the labels until the revised law has
been introduced and guidelines issued, which may not be until 2010,
based on the time it took for the guidelines for the 1995 legislation
to be finalised. As formula has a shelf life of up to 2 years,
illegal labels may remain on the shelves until 2012 if the authority
does not take action to enforce the existing law. It is disingenuous
to say it is necessary to wait for the new law, as the labels were
produced under the present law, which remains in force today. The
relevant section on labelling in the proposed revised legislation put
out for consultation is EXACTLY the same as the current legislation.
See the Campaign and Networking Coordinator's blog for full details.

7. A new EU Directive will allow the inclusion of claims that formula
contains LCPs and nucleotides and Heinz/Farley's appears to be pre-
empting this (the other illegal claims referred to above are not
included in the EU Directive). It has no grounds for doing so as the
current law does not permit such claims. The UK Government is
presently consulting on how to implement the Directive in the UK and
the Baby Feeding Law Group is suggesting the new law should state
permitted claims should not be used for promotion, but restricted to
points of information alongside the list of ingredients. Heinz is
perhaps attempting to make its use of promotional banners a reality
to try to undermine the consultation process.

Older labels with non-compliant claims over which action has never
been taken and which are still on sale are also shown on the website,
with analysis of claims. Here is an extract from the analysis:

Aptamil - Claims not on permitted list:

"Closest to breastmilk"

"Prebiotics support natural defences"

Cow & Gate - Claims not on permitted list:

"Closer than ever to breastmilk"

"Prebiotics support natural defences"

"Prebiotics help support your baby?s natural defences. A unique fat
blend with LCPs and GLA for brain and eye development. Nucleotides
play a role in supporting the immune system 8-carotene and selenium
which help with the development of the immune system."

Wyeth/SMA - Claims not on permitted list:

"Now even closer to breastmilk"

"Helps brain & eye development. Helps in the development of your
baby?s immune system and natural defences. Helps in the development
of your baby?s skin and body tissue. Easily digested."

Heinz/Farley's - Claims not on permitted list:

"Closer than ever to breastmilk"

Hipp ? Claims not on permitted list:

?Formulated to be nutritionally close to breastmilk?

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:40:21

(That post brought to you by Hunker, btw - shhh, don't tell VVV )

hatrickjacqueline Sat 21-Jul-07 23:43:03

Message withdrawn

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:43:45

Helloey! Thanks! You ain't see me, roight?

moondog Sat 21-Jul-07 23:44:55

Just read this Hunker er.. VVVQH or whaddever you call yerself these days.I am still involved in protracted dingdong with Cow & gate website.

hatrickjacqueline Sat 21-Jul-07 23:44:55

Message withdrawn

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:49:29

Oh, FFS, MD, the bastards! Well done for sticking with it, but fgs why is there nothing that can be done about the bastards?! They're fireproof and it pisses me off royally

A Hunker post

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:50:29

Did I say bastards? I meant bastards.

moondog Sat 21-Jul-07 23:53:30



I won't give up.

All I want is a definitive answer from the mon two questions

1.) Where is the reference for your snazzy prebiotics graph?

2.) You claim in your promotional movie that the baby 'might not need breastmilk any longer'. When would that be.

Your BMA info has however added another question

3.) Why are you making illegal claims about prebiotics?

Fuckers

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 21-Jul-07 23:54:20

LOLOLOLOLOL

VeniVidiVickiQV Sun 22-Jul-07 11:02:10

.

lissie Mon 23-Jul-07 13:24:09

have you signed the petitions on my thread?

Malfoynomore Tue 24-Jul-07 14:44:40

The link to the Breastfeeding manifesto was given a while back, and I did send it to my local mp...got some hogwash back that sadly he couldn't help with it, because he had no influence in any decision made about this,, or some such rubbish....

NotReallyHereHunker Tue 24-Jul-07 15:00:34

He can sign the Early Day Motion though.

And he can bloody well put his name to the Breastfeeding Manifesto - he doesn't need to do anything more than stand up and be counted.

Twunt.

Malfoynomore Tue 24-Jul-07 15:09:34

My thoughts exactly hunker

Artichokes Tue 24-Jul-07 15:22:35

Only 4 MPS have signed this so far. Other EDMs that were tabled on teh same day have many more signatures. The only names so far are:
Lynn Jones (Lab, Birmingham Sellyoak)
Kelvin Hopkins (Lab, Luton North)
Ann Cryer (Lab , Keighley)
Paul Flynn (Lab, Newport West)

If you are writing to your MP in the hope they might instigate change then it is best to ask them to sign the EDM and to table parliamentary questions.

EDMs don't do anything. Even if every MP signed nothing would have to happen. They are a way of signalling disapporval and are better than nothing but they can be signed and then forgotten about. Tabling questions is a much more powerful tool.

aquababe Tue 24-Jul-07 15:42:41

my mp hasn't even sent me a reply let alone put his name down

smallwhitecat Tue 24-Jul-07 15:44:46

Message withdrawn

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