Consultation on formula promotion bill

An MP campaigning to tighten up the law surrounding the marketing of formula milk has opened a consultation for consumers, campaigners and health professionals.

Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, was recently given leave of the House of Commons to bring forward her Feeding Products for Babies and Children (Advertising and Promotion) Bill. Now the MP is asking interested parties to submit thoughts and proposals for consideration before 9am on Monday 9th January 2017. After that she will move to drafting the Bill, which will be published early in the new year.

The Bill seeks to make provision for the control of advertising and promotion of feeding products for babies and children. The MP intends for the Bill to establish a body – completely independent of industry – which would regularly safety test formula milks and other infant feeding products, and potentially adjudicate on the veracity of claims made by companies as to the ingredients and nutritional value of such products. The Bill aims also to include provision for stiffer financial penalties for formula companies which publish scientifically inaccurate and misleading claims.

Those interested in responding to the consultation are asked to fill out a short consultation form.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“I have been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes of so many people who have a wealth of knowledge around infant feeding. I would encourage as many people as possible to visit my website, fill out the consultation form, and let me know their thoughts as to what might potentially be helpful to include in the Bill.

“Taking a Ten Minute Rule Bill all the way through to being put on the statute books is a tall order, so I am keen to give the Bill the best possible chance of success. I am conscious that if the Bill is drafted sensibly and pragmatic enough, then there’s every chance that the Government might consider adopting it.”

10 thoughts on “Consultation on formula promotion bill

  1. This is a really important issue that is often overlooked. It’s time for the government to regulate and ensure that formula milk contains the right nutrients needed for babies at the beginning of their lives. Pharmaceutical companies are all, quite rightly, subject to stringent laws about what they can claim about the medication they produce, why should it be any different for formula milk manufacturers, who regularly make health claims that can’t be substantiated?

  2. No advertising of formula milk for babies under 1 year. All milks for babies up to one year to have no ingredients added that are not evidenced as beneficial for health (by an independent body). All milks to be labelled clearly as first milk. All other milks for under ones to be removed, e.g. Hungrier milks, colic milks etc. Would be nice if we produced a ‘national milk ‘ so companies were not involved at all but I can but dream

  3. It would be great if all products aimed at under 3 year olds was banned from advertising. As this is such a vulnerable age and stage of a child’s life.

  4. Excellent news. Mothers and their families are bombarded with advertising from formula companies right from conception and their conduct can leave mothers feeling conflicted and “not enough”. This is all without proper evidence and information. Mothers have a right to unbiased, accurate evidence based information about the products they feel their babies.

    I fully support this bill.

  5. I think parents should be told exactly what they are giving their babies. I have been shocked to learn that most formula is pretty much the same, yet price isn’t. Also shocked to learn that it is perfectly fine to use first infant milk after 6 months and not have to use follow on milk, which can be more expensive. This is not clearly advertised to the public and that is not on when many parent struggle financially.

  6. About time this was addressed. Formula manufacturers have been misrepresenting their products for far too long and it has always been difficult to find unbiased information about their products from external sources. Professionals will probably have been aware of Unicef, Baby Milk Action and First Steps Nutrition Trust but parents might not. It would be fantastic for them to have a way of finding out more about formula milks without the ‘hype’. Even better if it’s from an official government source!

  7. Belief in a product can be achieved by clever use of language and avoiding information. Companies who produce infant formula spend a small amount to ensure families use their prodcuts. Once engaged with the company the belief and trust develops a the need to use all the prodcuts produced by the company and is not queried or questioned by the families thus ensuring money is spent on unnecessary products. Why should they question when the companies use words such as research, alwasy, support and scientific. Trsut is easil

  8. Advertising of all formula milk should be banned.
    The UK needs to promote a culture of breastfeeding being the norm, with formula milk advertising then this is not possible. Adverts are needed promoting breastfeeding
    This will reduce many health equalities, but as obesity levels are so high in our population, it should be a priority.
    With children’s service being commissioned by LA now, funding is been cut dramatically. Early intervention services and health services such as breastfeeding are being cut and lost as they are not seen as a priority.
    This will have detrimental impacts upon our population.
    Action is needed, and fast by MP’s.
    Why is the government allowing these services to be decimated (eg breastfeeding, health visiting FNP, which are vital in supporting new mothers to initiate breastfeeding).

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