Letter: Mother's milk

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The Independent Culture
Mother's milk

Sir: I'm pleased that tobacco advertising has been under consideration again ("Tobacco firms deserted by Tories, 11 August), as it is the place of government to safeguard health by countering the enormous marketing muscle flexed by vested interests. I only wish the same consideration could be given to the promotion of breast-feeding by banning the advertising of formula milk.

This advertising is banned by the World Health Organisation code, but manufacturers get round it by marketing a remarkably similar product as "follow-on milk". Not only should this advertising be banned, but there should be television advertising campaigns informing the public, not just of the benefits of breast-feeding, but also of the inferiority and risks of artificial breastmilk substitutes.

If we have Aids awareness and anti-smoking ads, why not these? There is an enormous amount of ignorance about infant nutrition, which is why I believe it should be taught to every child through the National Curriculum.

Health professionals do their best to inform new parents but by then people have been exposed to years of subtle marketing and cultural pressures and have often formed very firm prejudices.

RUTH HOLT

Didcot, Oxfordshire

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