Infant formula marketing decision welcomed

The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) welcomes the Commerce Commission confirmation of the authorisation of the INC’s Code of Practice for marketing infant formula. 

The Code of Practice restricts the advertising and marketing of infant formula by members. 

It has been in place since 2012 and is consistent with New Zealand’s commitment to the World Health Organisation’s International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO Code).

INC Chief Executive Jan Carey says INC applied to the commission for authorisation of the Code to reassure its members that it was the appropriate response in New Zealand to the WHO Code and that they comply with the law.

“Commerce Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said ‘After considering the feedback from a number of interested parties, the commission has reached the view that the public benefits arising from higher breastfeeding rates outweigh any lessening of competition from the arrangement”, and INC agrees totally with that.

“That’s why we’re pleased the Code has been authorised.”

The Code applies to the marketing of infant formula products suitable for infants up to the age of six months.

Restrictions include:

  • not advertising infant formula
  • not distributing gifts or free samples to pregnant mothers or caregivers
  • not offering inducements to health professionals to promote infant formula.

These restrictions give effect to the WHO Code, which aims to protect and promote breastfeeding, and to restrict the marketing of breast milk substitutes in ways that would undermine that aim.

Ms Carey says the authorisation of the Code does not mean there will be any further restrictions on the availability of infant formula.

“There will be no change at all to the current restrictions on infant formula marketing or selling in New Zealand, or to the price promotion of infant formula.

“I must also stress that mothers and carers still need to make sure they get sufficient information from health practitioners and organisations such as Plunket about formula and feeding their babies in order to make informed decisions.

“INC believes breastfeeding is best, but that when needed, infant formula is the only suitable alternative.”

The New Zealand Code of Practice was developed by INC in consultation with the Ministry of Health and applies to INC-member marketers of infant formula.

Ms Carey says INC is responsible for liaising with and educating the industry sector to ensure the Code is adhered to. All health workers and other interested parties are encouraged to be aware of its content.

The Code can be accessed on the INC website infantnutritioncouncil.com

For further information contact Jan Carey 09 354 3272

 

About the Infant Nutrition Council

The Infant Nutrition Council Ltd (INC) is the association for the infant formula industry in Australia and New Zealand. The nearly 30 council members include some of the most respected food companies in the world, and the organisation represents over 95% of the volume of infant formula manufactured, sold and exported in New Zealand. INC plays a key role in ensuring compliance and safety in the industry. All members abide by a Code of Conduct that provides direction on industry issues including the support of breastfeeding, food regulations and standards, food safety issues, and company representatives’ conduct and activities. INC advocates for optimal nutrition for all infants: breastfeeding first, and, when needed, infant formula as the only suitable alternative. INC members include Abbott Nutrition, Aspen Nutritionals, Bayer, Fonterra, HJ Heinz, Nestle, Nutricia. Associate members include Synlait, New Image Group, Westland, and Dairy Goat Co-operative. More information www.infantnutritioncouncil.com