Infant Nutrition Council statement on Warriors’ Fernbaby Sponsorship Deal
The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) today expressed strong concern over the sponsorship deal between the Warriors rugby league club and Chinese-owned New Zealand Infant Formula Company, Fernbaby.
CEO Jan Carey said that it is not in the interests of New Zealand’s reputation internationally for the Warriors to be promoting any infant formula brand.
“The infant formula industry in New Zealand has worked hard to make sure that its marketing practices are ethical to ensure that the important role of breastfeeding is not undermined,” Ms Carey said.
“This sponsorship steps outside industry practice which restricts promotion to parents.”
Ms Carey said the Infant Nutrition Council, which represents the interests of the infant formula industry in New Zealand, advocates optimal nutrition for all infants. Its members adhere to a voluntary Code of Practice which restricts advertising infant formula directly to the public. This Code is part of New Zealand’s response to the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO 1981) (WHO Code) which prescribes how information about infant formula can be marketed.
“We fully support the importance of encouraging and maintaining breastfeeding for as long as possible. Breastmilk contains all of the essential nutrients, antibodies and other factors important for growth and development and cannot be replicated by any infant formula product,” Ms Carey said.
“This sponsorship deal, which will see Warriors players in the 2013 National Youth Competition and those in the 2014 and 2015 NRL team promoting an infant formula product on their uniforms, will undermine important breastfeeding messages and the Code in New Zealand” Ms Carey.
Our objective is to improve infant nutrition by supporting the public health goals for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and, when needed, infant formula as the only suitable alternative.
“It is important that all companies manufacturing and marketing infant formula in New Zealand understand this and act responsibly by complying with both the voluntary marketing code and the regulatory regime”.
The Infant Nutrition Council believes that breast milk provides an infant with the best source of nutrition, that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed an infant and it has numerous benefits for both mothers and babies.
Fernbaby is not a member of the INC. INC members include Abbott Nutrition, Bayer, Biolife New Zealand, Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd , Dairy Goat Cooperative, H. J. Heinz Company NZ Ltd, Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Nestlé New Zealand Limited, Nutricia Pty Ltd, Pfizer Nutrition, Sutton Group, Synlait Milk Ltd and Westland Milk Products.
Release date: 1 November 2012