Letter : The best way to feed a baby

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The Independent Online
Sir: Doctors and healthcare agencies are mistaken in claiming that the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 1995 give baby-milk manufacturers a "free hand" in advertising their products ("Government ignores protests at baby milk ads", 1 March).

The new regulations ban all general advertising of infant formula to the public. Advertisements will be allowed only in baby care publications distributed through the health care system, and in scientific and certain trade publications that are not aimed at mothers or the general public.

The regulations also tightly control the content and presentation of the permitted advertisements and restrict the promotion of infant formula. This means that the controls which have been in place voluntarily for a number of years now have a statutory basis in law.

The new regulations implement the EC Directives, based on the aims and principles of the World Health Organisation code, on the composition, labelling and marketing of infant and follow-on formula. On advertising controls, the Government has gone beyond the minimum requirements of the Directives precisely because of our determination to promote and protect breast-feeding. The medical advice is unequivocal - breastfeeding is the best way of feeding a baby.

Yours sincerely,

CUMBERLEGE

Under Secretary of State

Department of Health

London, SW1

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