Baby milk consultation will reveal industry costs, FSA says

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Food standards agency

The UK's Food Standards Agency has launched the final part
of consultation on a European directive governing the infant
nutrition market, which once completed will reveal the potential
cost of the changes.

Earlier this month the FSA started consultation on three parts of the Infant Formula and Follow-On Formula (England) Regulations 2007, governing the labelling of products. Yesterday it launched the second half of the consultation, on regulation three (Directive 2007/29/EC) which governs hunger and satiey claims, and regulation six (Directive 2007/26/EC), which aims to extend the period by which the rules have to be implemented by until January 1, 2010. An FSA spokesperson told that one of the aims of the consultation was to establish any costs involved with the regulation changes. She said: "The key costs are likely to be associated with the reformulation and relabelling of infant formula and follow-on formula to ensure that formula products placed on the market comply with the rules laid down in the directive. These costs would be met by formula manufacturers. The Agency cannot quantify these costs at present." ​ The Formula and Follow-On Formula (England) Regulations 2007 outlines a package of changes to current infant nutrition regulations. These include an outline to move the minimum age for which infants should take follow-on formula from four to six months. Broadly speaking, the regulation's aim is to make sure the rules governing baby food are equal for all member states and will ensure that breast and non-breast milk has a similar nutritional make-up. A new national notification requirement for infant formula, which will allow EU countries to monitor the marketing of new formulae more effectively, has also been tabled. Neither of these two requirements currently exist in the UK. However, how much this could cost the infant nutrition market which, is thought to be worth £329 million, has not yet been determined. The FSA is already consulting on labelling requirements, which includes rules making sure information about infant feeding will not to counter the promotion of breastfeeding. Comments on the second and final stage of changes should be sent to the FSA by next month. The agency hopes to be able to make recommendations for changes to UK government ministers later this year.

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