BFLG is working to bring the legislation across the countries of the UK into line with World Health Assembly Resolutions. Companies are required to abide by these Resolutions independently of government measures, so we also monitor company practices (with the help of the public and health workers), produce monitoring reports and work with the authorities enforcing the existing weak legislation to stop as many prohibited practices as we can.
The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
The World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in 1981 and has adopted subsequent, relevant Resolutions since then. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly called on the UK Government to implement the Code and Resolutions in legislation.
The current legislation relating to breastmilk substitutes is:
The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 2007
This derives from a European Union Directive, though it is weaker than the Directive allows:
COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC
Other measures in the UK are as follows:
Ofcom (product placement rules)
Ofcom (the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communication industries) has rules regarding product placement in television programmes. Products that cannot be placed in programmes include: "infant formula (baby milk), including follow-on formula". However, Ofcom does point out that some products may appear in programmes because they have been chosen by the producers as props. Companies can be fined for breaking the rules.
The text of the rules is available by clicking here
. Complaints can be made by going to the Report violations section (see links above).
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
Broadcast (radio and television) and internet advertising comes under the voluntary Advertising Code. Complaints about advertisements can be made to the industry-funded Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by going to the Report violations section (see links above). The ASA does not accept that violations of the International Code and Resolutions are breaches of the requirement that advertising be "legal, decent, honest and truthful".
Follow the links in the section menu at the side for information on the Code and Resolutions; the text of the Laws adopted by the countries in the UK (including Ofcom's rules on product placement and the Advertising Standard Authority's voluntary advertising codes); the EU Directive and other legal issues (such as the right to breastfeed in public) and the BFLG law blog.