Updated Code of Practice to protect breastfeeding launched

An updated Code of Practice for the marketing of infant formula in New Zealand was launched at Parliament today by Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew.

It was launched on behalf of the Infant Nutrition Council (INC).

The voluntary Code applies to the marketing of infant formula products suitable for infants up to the age of six months and applies to all companies marketing infant formula in New Zealand that are represented by INC.

It is based on the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

INC Chief Executive Officer Jan Carey said the Code of Practice aimed to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by protecting and promoting breast-feeding, and by ensuring the proper use of infant formula, when it was necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing.

“This Code applies to the marketing in New Zealand of infant formula as suitable to provide the sole source of nourishment for an infant or replace part of a breastfeed.”

There has been a Code of Practice in place for a number of years but this has now been updated to reflect current thinking around information and education, and advertising and marketing standards.

“The infant formula manufacturers and marketers who are members of INC are committed to the Code because they are committed to providing the best nutrition for infants, and overwhelming evidence has demonstrated that breast milk is best,” Ms Carey said.

“Infant formula was developed to reduce infant mortality and morbidity by providing the only suitable substitute to breast milk when a baby is not being breastfed.

“However, despite vast improvements in the composition of infant formula since 1850, it cannot provide an infant with the variety of nutrient and active factors that are present in breast milk.

“To maximise the health and wellbeing of New Zealand’s infants, all mothers should be supported to breastfeed their babies.

“Health-care professionals, governments, and infant-formula providers have a responsibility to not only protect the critical role of breastfeeding but also to ensure the continued nutritional welfare of each and every New Zealand baby”, Ms Carey said.

INC supports both breastfeeding and infant formula, and represents the major companies manufacturing, importing, and marketing their own brands of infant formulas in Australia and New Zealand.

A copy of the Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand is attached.

End

Release date: 21 February 2013 

For further information please contact Jan Carey on +64 220597066.