Prev Med. 2018 Apr;109:11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.01.009. Epub 2018 Jan 12.
Toddler drinks, formulas, and milks: Labeling practices and policy implications.
College of Global Public Health, New York University, NY, New York, United States. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, United States.
Toddler drinks are a growing category of drinks marketed for young children 9-36 months old. Medical experts do not recommend them, and public health experts raise concerns about misleading labeling practices. In the U.S., the toddler drink category includes two types of products: transition formulas, marketed for infants and toddlers 9-24 months; and toddler milks, for children 12-36 months old. The objective of this study was to evaluate toddler drink labeling practices in light of U.S. food labeling policy and international labeling recommendations. In January 2017, we conducted legal research on U.S. food label laws and regulations; collected and evaluated toddler drink packages, including nutrition labels and claims; and compared toddler drink labels with the same brand’s infant formula labels. We found that the U.S. has a regulatory structure for food labels and distinct policies for infant formula, but no laws specific to toddler drinks. Toddler drink labels utilized various terms and images to identify products and intended users; made multiple health and nutrition claims; and some stated there was scientific or expert support for the product. Compared to the same manufacturer’s infant formula labels, most toddler drink labels utilized similar colors, branding, logos, and graphics. Toddler drink labels may confuse consumers about their nutrition and health benefits and the appropriateness of these products for young children. To support healthy toddler diets and well-informed decision-making by caregivers, the FDA can provide guidance or propose regulations clarifying permissible toddler drink labels and manufacturers should end inappropriate labeling practices.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Apr;12 Suppl 2:91-105. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12269.
Cross-sectional survey shows that follow-up formula and growing-up milks are labelled similarly to infant formula in four low and middle income countries.
JB Consultancy, Bryanston, South Africa.
Helen Keller International, Washington D.C., USA.
This cross-sectional survey assessed the characteristics of labels of follow-up formula (FUF) and growing-up milk (GUM) compared with infant formula (IF), including cross-promotion practices between FUF/GUM and IF manufactured by the same company, sold in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Kathmandu Valley, Nepal; Dakar Department, Senegal; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. All products were imported. A wide recommended age/age range for introduction was provided by manufacturers across all sites, with products with an age recommendation of 0-6 months being most prevalent in three sites, representing over a third of all products. Various age categories (e.g. 1, 1+ and Stage 1) commonly appeared on labels. A number of descriptive names (e.g. infant formula and milk formula) per category of age of introduction were used with some appearing across more than one category. Images of feeding bottles were found on most labels across all age categories, but prevalence decreased with older age categories. The majority of FUF/GUM manufactured by IF companies across all sites displayed at least one example of cross-promotion with one or more of the company’s IF: two-thirds or more contained similar colour schemes/designs and similar brand names; 20-85% had similar slogans/mascots/symbols. A wide and potentially confusing range of ages/categories of introduction and descriptive names were found, and cross-promotion with IF was common on FUF/GUM labels. Global guidance from normative bodies forms the basis of most low and middle income countries policies and should provide specific guidance to prohibit cross-promotion between FUF/GUM and IF, and all three categories should be classified as breastmilk substitutes.
© 2016 The Authors. Maternal & Child Nutrition published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.