Revised Code for marketing infant formula launched

The Infant Nutrition Council’s revised Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand was launched today at Parliament by Health Minister David Clark and Minister for Food Safety Damien O’Connor.

The Code restricts the advertising and marketing of infant formula products for children up to 12 months of age. It was revised after the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) applied to the Commerce Commission to extend the restriction that applied to products for children up to 6 months old. 

Jan Carey, the Chief Executive of INC, which represents most infant formula manufacturers, said they made the application because the improved health outcomes that would flow from it would outweigh the detriments arising from the lessening of competition between formula makers.

“We recognised the importance of aligning the marketing practices of infant formula that is the sole source of nutrition for infants up to 6 months with breast milk substitutes for infants up to the age of 12 months.

“The Commission agreed, and their decision underlined exactly what the industry is trying to do – put the health of babies and mothers first.

“The industry has acted, in my view, with great responsibility and integrity by revising the Code.

“Our stance is supported by many public health bodies. It aligns with recent guidance from the World Health Assembly and is consistent with the Ministry of Health’s nutrition guidelines for infants.”

The Ministers congratulated INC for revising the Code. Mr Clark said the Code “sits with the Government’s well-being vision” and was a positive step for the well-being of children, while Mr O’Connor said it was a “great initiative” and he was honoured to launch it. He acknowledged the voluntary work done by the industry in revising it.

Ms Carey also suggested an amendment in the future allowing nutrition statements to be made on labels would greatly help mums and caregivers make decisions about which formula would be best for their baby.

“For now, we can now confidently apply the new Infant Nutrition Council Code of Practice in New Zealand.”

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.