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Decision on marketing infant formula is common sense

Decision on marketing infant formula for children up to 12 months victory for common sense, says industry

The Commerce Commission’s decision to authorise the Infant Nutrition Council’s Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand that will restrict the advertising and marketing of infant formula products for children up to 12 months of age is a victory for common sense, say infant formula manufacturers.

“We welcome this decision,” says Jan Carey, Chief Executive of the Infant Nutrition Council, which represents infant formula manufacturers. “It’s a victory for common sense and is exactly what we have been pushing for.

“The INC has been working for some time on extending the restriction on advertising and marketing that applied to products for children up to 6 months of age to apply to products for children up to 12 months. The restrictions include a restriction on advertising, as well as the distribution of free samples to pregnant women, mothers of infants and the families and caregivers of infants.

“We made the application to the Commerce Commission because, while the restrictions would be likely to lessen competition between infant formula makers, the improved health outcomes that would flow from it would outweigh the detriments arising from the lessening of competition. The Commission agreed.

“The Commission’s decision underlines exactly what the industry is trying to do – put the health of babies and mothers first.

“After consulting on its draft determination, the Commission found that the public benefits of the arrangement outweigh the likely detriments from the reduction in competition, and we agree.

“Our stance is supported by many public health bodies. It aligns with recent guidance from the World Health Assembly and is consistent with the Ministry of Health's nutrition guidelines for infants.

“Basically, the industry is proactively taking a step to further restrict their marketing practices because it’s the right thing to do to support the public health goals that protect and promote breastfeeding. Breast milk is the best nutrition for an infant, but where that is not always possible, infant formula is the only suitable substitute.”

ends

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