Infant Nutrition Council calls for clearer labelling on infant formula products

30 November 2015

The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) is calling for changes to infant formula labelling restrictions that keep crucial nutrition and function claims from appearing on pack, fearing parents and carers are not receiving adequate information.

Research commissioned by the INC found many mothers and carers who use infant formula are confused by labels and find it difficult to make an informed choice.

The research showed:

  • Almost half of the respondents were not aware of ingredients in the formula they bought, nor did they understand the role of ingredients in that formula;
  • One in three felt they received insufficient information when purchasing formula for the first time;
  • Only three per cent found product labelling to be the most useful source of information on formula.

Infant Nutrition Council CEO Jan Carey said current restrictions mean labels aren’t helping parents understand what they are buying.

“The research tells us parents and carers want to know more about infant formula so that they can be confident in their purchasing decisions, and that they are making a choice that will suit their babies,” Ms Carey said.

“Not all infant formula products are the same – but parents can’t find out from the pack what ingredients are in it, and the labels don’t explain the scientifically validated benefits of the ingredients. This means they have no way of knowing why one product costs $15 and another costs $30.”

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently reviewing Standard 2.9.1 – Infant Formula Products and other standards in the Code that regulate infant formula products.

“Compared to other countries, Australia and New Zealand are lagging in their willingness to provide adequate information to parents and carers about the formula they give their infants,” Ms Carey said.

Countries like Canada, Malaysia and China allow nutrient content and function claims – both of which are prohibited here – to be displayed on packaging. This helps parents and carers to understand exactly what is in the products, and helps them differentiate between types of products. Withholding this information does not help parents and carers make informed decisions.

Jan CareyCEO INC

For further information contact Jan Carey 00 61 412 514 735

About the Infant Nutrition Council

The Infant Nutrition Council Ltd (INC) is the association for the infant formula industry in Australia and New Zealand. Its 41 members produce 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 A2 Milk, Abbott Nutrition, Aspen Nutritionals, Bayer, Danone Nutricia, Fonterra, HJ Heinz, Nestle, Synlait. Associate members include NIG Nutritionals, Westland, Dairy Goat Co-operative, Bodco, Fresco, GMP, New Zealand New Milk, Spring Sheep Milk, Winston, Yashili.