Infant formula marketing decision welcomed

The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) is pleased that the Commerce Commission has come to a preliminary decision to authorise the INC’s Code of Practice for marketing infant formula. 

The decision is subject to a consultation period before it can be  confirmed. 

“Consistent with New Zealand’s commitment to the World Health Organisation’s International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO Code), the INC Code of Practice, which has been in place since 2012, restricts the advertising and marketing of infant formula by members.

INC Chief Executive Jan Carey says INC applied to the commission for authorisation of its New Zealand code to reassure its members that the INC Code of Practice was the appropriate response to the WHO Code in New Zealand.

“As Commerce Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said, it is widely agreed there are a variety of health benefits from breastfeeding, which could be adversely affected by the unrestricted marketing and advertising of infant formula. 

“INC agrees with this, and is hopeful that the commission’s draft decision is able to be finalised as soon as practicable.”

The Code of Practice 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, and not offering inducements to health professionals to promote infant formula. These restrictions give effect to the International Code, which aims to protect and promote breastfeeding, and to restrict the marketing of breast milk substitutes in ways that would undermine this aim.

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

Mrs 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