Tesco violates International Code by promoting half-price bottle feeding equipment with misleading claims

On 6th February 2013 a report was received about a promotion for a ‘half price’ Avent Classic New Born Starter Set seen on Tesco.com (see below - click on image for large version).

The set includes bottles and a "two piece anti colic system"; some parts of which are described as suitable for use from ‘0m+’ (from birth).  The kit is labelled with the claim: "Help settle your baby - especially at night".

 
 
Under the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981 it is forbidden to promote not only breastmilk substitutes, but also products which may undermine breastfeeding, such as bottles and teats (see the 'Law' section).
 
Article 2. Scope of the Code
 
The Code applies to the marketing, and practices related thereto, of the following products: breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, foods and beverages, including bottle-fed complementary foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement of breast-milk; feeding bottles and teats. It also applies to their quality and availability, and to information concerning their use.
 
Therefore a promotion for feeding bottles directed at the general public is not permitted under the Code and Resolutions. The fact that the feeding equipment shown in this particular promotion has a price reduction to induce sales further violates the Code.
 
Note: permanent price reductions of these over-priced products would not violate the Code - it is when price reductions are used for promotional purposes to draw attention to the products and encourage new buyers to purchase them that the Code is violated.
 
Items such as bottles are included within the scope of the International Code and promotion and health and nutrition claims are prohibited. A pregnant mother, or mother of a newborn, seeing this advert and may be influenced by the number and range of ‘health’ claims within just this one advert, all of which are listed under the bold heading of ‘Clinically Proven’.
 
The first claim made concerns sleep:
 
"Helps settle your baby, especially at night" and later in the text  "Fussing is reduced especially at night".
 
It is then claimed that there is "less colic".
 
Further claims make comparisons with breastfeeding:
 
"As your baby feeds, the unique skirt on the AVENT Teat flexes to allow air into the bottle instead of your baby's tummy. Like natural breastfeeding your baby controls the milk flow."
 
And that this equipment:
 
"Supports breastfeeding."
 
Article 4 of the Code states that information on infant feeding should include information about "the negative effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottle feeding." Tesco is doing the exact opposite and so its claims are misleading.
 
After these idealising claims it then says "Sleep and nutrition are vital to your baby's health and happiness", implying that your baby will sleep better if it is fed with this feeding ‘system’.
 
Such claims of better sleep, less colic and an overall happier baby undermine health messages about the risks associated with bottle feeding. 
 
In the UK there is a Law which details how infant formula and follow-on formulas can be marketed (Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations, 2007 - see 'The Law' section), but it is narrow in its scope and does not include other breastmilk substitutes or feeding equipment. However, Article 11.3 of the Code states:<