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 that must be read with it. 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 derives from a European Union Directive, and is significantly weaker than the International Code and Resolutions. In 2020 new Comission Delegated Regulations EU (2016/127 and 2016/128) will come fully into force replacing Commission Directive 2006/141/EC
The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 2007
COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC
COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2016/127 of 25 September 2015 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the specific compositional and information requirements for infant formula and follow-on formula and as regards requirements on information relating to infant and young child feeding
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/128 of 25 September 2015 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the specific compositional and information requirements for food for special medical purposes (Text with EEA relevance)
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.