October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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October 15, 2021

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October 14, 2021

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Report Suggests Infant Formula Promotions May Need Work

The Access to Nutrition Initiative released their 2021 Breast-Milk Substitutes and Complementary Foods Marketing Index, updating industry on their assessment of major baby food companies’ compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

The report notes that compliance with the Code has improved in recent years but suggests that marketers of infant formulas still fall well short of global health policy standards.  Using the Initiative’s scoring system that evaluates company policies, internal systems, and marketing practices, the report concludes that while one company has a compliance score of 68%, most others are below 50% compliant with the Code. According to the report, some companies’ inconsistent implementation in different product lines and in different countries compounded with inconsistent government policies across countries creates a major gap that it suggests should be addressed to improve breastfeeding rates worldwide.

By way of background, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes for member countries to recommend reviews of sales promotion activities on baby foods and introduce restrictions on accompanying marketing claims through advertising regulation where necessary. In particular, the initiative seeks to restrict claims made by infant formula manufacturers that promote formula as a better or healthier alternative to breastfeeding. In the U.S., while FDA closely regulates infant formula (and has issued guidance on labeling and structure/function claims for formula), it has not implemented any regulations suggested in the Code.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 176
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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