WHO calls on countries to restrict baby milk marketing

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Codex alimentarius, Infant formula, Food

The World Health Organisation executive board approved a resolution
in Geneva this week urging governments to tighten their controls on
the marketing...

The World Health Organisation executive board approved a resolution in Geneva this week urging governments to tighten their controls on the marketing tactics of the manufacturers of baby milk, the British Medical Journal reports. The resolution was agreed after hours of debate at the annual boardmeeting and will become official WHO policy if the organisation's member states adopt it at the nextWorld Health Assembly in May. Campaigners from The International Baby Food Action Network had argued that any delay in a resolution would open the door to more aggressive labelling and marketing of infant foods and a possibleweakening of the standards set by the international food policy body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which meets in June 2001. Sticking points during the lengthy debate were the duration of exclusive breast feeding and the question of internet advertising of baby foods. A WorldHealth Assembly resolution of 1994 said that exclusive breast feeding should continue for "about 6 months," but current WHO guidelines say thatcomplementary feeding may be introduced at "4-6 months." But the text approved this week leaves the number of months in square brackets, to be decided at the World Health Assembly in May. Keen not to inhibit commercial activity the US was opposed to any controls of internet advertising. Eventually the call to limit electronic advertising was kept in the resolution, although the wording is non-specific.

Related topics: Market Trends

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