Labour call for controls on marketing “follow-on formula” milk

East Midlands Euro MP Glenis Willmott is calling for a ban on the advertising of so called “follow-on formula” milk, for infants from the age of 6 months onwards.

There will be a vote on her proposal in the European Parliament in Strasbourg later this week to determine whether “follow-on formula” milk should be governed by the same rules as those for infant (babies up to six months old) formula.

Glenis explained: “Every parent is naturally anxious for their child to have the best possible start in life.  That is why there is an EU-wide ban on health claims and advertising of infant formula, to protect parents from marketing ploys and industry pressure to use certain types of formula.

“Follow-on formula, however, is not subject to the same restrictions. Follow-on milks can be advertised, and many people will be familiar with such adverts on TV and in magazines. The distinction between infant formula, which should be used from zero to six months, and follow-on formula, for 6 to 12 months, is not very clear.

“One of my main concerns is that follow-on formula is in effect being used as a loophole to advertise infant formula. 

“I am also concerned that advertising make parents feel that they should be using follow-on formula, when the World Health Organisation and most paediatricians state that these follow-on milks are unnecessary.”

This week in Strasbourg, the European Parliament will be voting on proposals to update regulations food for medicinal use and nutritional substances, and Glenis is re-introducing her proposal to treat the marketing of follow-on formula milk in the same way as infant formula.

Tory MEPs and others opposed the advertising ban when it was discussed in committee, but Glenis hopes that enough MEPs will have now looked more closely at the arguments and will support a move which will protect parents and their children.

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