The commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week last week saw consultations for a new draft of food regulations on ‘Marketing of products for infants and young children, 2017’.
The consultations were part of the one week celebration with the theme - ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding’.
The Ministry of Health highlighted that exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and then proper introduction of nutritious complementary foods from 6 months to 2 years was vital to ensure children remain healthy.
One of many objectives was to firmly anchor breastfeeding as a key component of sustainable development and then to galvanize a variety of actions at all levels on breastfeeding in the new era.
Draft Food Regulations were also discussed including the mandatory use of a trademark.
The Ministry of Health, invited members from the private sector, businesses, government ministries and state-owned enterprises for feedback and recommendations before the final solutions were agreed upon.
The control of the marketing of certain foods for infants and young children was one of the two main purposes in the new draft of food regulations.
“Prohibited promotional practices include, but are not limited to advertisements, or any representation to the effect that a designated product has been approved, endorsed or recommended by any person or organisation that members of the public might reasonably expect to be technically qualified to give an authoritative opinion in respect of the designated product
“Sales devices such as displays, discount coupons, premiums, rebates, special sales, loss leaders, tie-in sales, prizes or gifts were also addressed in the draft food regulations.
Also included, were the use of labels of all designated products.
“No person shall sell a designated product if the package or label affixed thereto includes other than the company name and brand name,” according to the draft regulations
This includes any claim or representation that states or suggests that a particular relationship exist between the product or constituent thereof and health, including the physiological role of a nutrient in growth, development or normal functions of the body of an infant or young child, and;
“Without limiting the provision of the Competition and Consumer Act 2016 and any other enactments relating to labelling, no person shall sell any designated product, other than a feeding bottle, teat or pacifier, unless the package or label affixed thereto indicates in a clear, conspicuous and easily readable manner.
In addition to the requirements of these regulations, no person shall sell infant formula or follow-up unless the package or label affixed thereto conforms to the following.
“Contains the words “IMPORTANCE NOTICE” in capital letters and indicated thereunder, the statement ‘Breastfeeding is best”.
“Contain the warning and indicated thereunder, the statement before deciding to supplement or replace breastfeeding with this product, seek the advice of a health professional.
Those who contravene regulations of these regulations shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units for a person and 10,000 penalty units for a body corporate.