MEPs call for a rethink on the new EU laws on formulas and baby foods
Member States Experts meeting, Brussels 20th April
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Along with health advocates around the world we have decried new rules on baby formulas and foods that are being pushed through by the European Commission with no time for proper consultation and expert reflection. The proposals will trick parents into buying expensive and unnecessary products that will fuel the obesity crisis. They will also impact on global trade rules and infant feeding in developing countries where infant feeding is a lifeline.
Here are two questions by MEPs Daciana Sarbu, Socialist MEP, Romania, and Keith Taylor, Green MEP for SE England highlighting problems and calling for a rethink.
Anneliese Dodds, Socialist MEP for SE England, has also written to the Commission expressing concern about the proposals.
LEGAL CERTAINTY OVER PROMOTION: We know that several Member States – including the UK – question the usefulness of Follow-on Formulas and would like to see text that gives them the legal certainty to control Follow-on Formula (and Young Child Formula ) promotion in line with national policies. We have asked why the Commission cannot make it clear that only the courts can decide whether national measures are justified. We have been told this is ‘historical.’
- 800 litres of water needed to make a 1 litreof milk
- 4700 litresof water per kilo of milk powder
Formula for Disasterhttp://bpni.org/ibfan-newswire-2014/9
For links to EU data CLICK HERE http://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/3422
WHO: At a meeting with the EU Commission in February. Dr Joao Breda of WHO highlighted the need for sound evidence in relation to the sugar content in baby foods and the controls on marketing in line with the WHO set of Recommendations on Marketing of Foods High in Fat, Sugar and Salt to Children, adopted by the World health Assembly. He also stressed the importance of Member States being able to follow the International Code of Marketing of Breast milk substitutes and resolutions and their own health policies. He warned that ” If some operators would use branding in a way that confuses mothers, particularly the least educated ones, then this could result in a step backwards that would increase health inequalities in Europe and would affect member states and WHO efforts to combat childhood obesity and other child health problems.”
.Patti Rundall of Baby Milk Action- IBFAN UK said: “If these proposals go ahead unchanged they can only bring discredit to the EU, a region that prides itself on its high levels of health safety and consumer protection, human rights and sensitivity to the developing world. Advertising of breastmilk substitutes and sweet processed foods for young babies flies in the face of all health recommendations and conflicts with national health priorities and policies of many EU countries.”
Keith Taylor’s question:
In August 2014, EFSA updated its opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formula, in which it proposes an almost identical composition of infant formula and follow-on formula. In the view of the EFSA opinion, and considering that the Commission is currently working on a delegated act as regards infant formula and follow-on formula: 1) Is the Commission considering extending the advertising restrictions that apply to infant formula to follow-on-formula, and if not, how will the Commission provide Member States with legal certainty that they can adopt stricter rules on advertising? 2) Will the Commission ask EFSA to evaluate potential risks of high sugar levels in baby foods and young child formula, including effects on levels of childhood obesity and on the developing taste palates of children? 3) Will the Commission ensure that the suitability of any new ingredient added to infant and follow-on formula needs to demonstrated by appropriate, independently funded and reviewed studies, and that the addition of any ingredient needs to undergo a pre-market-approval process?
EFSA opinion: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3760.htm
Daciana Sarbu’s question:
The Commission is currently consulting and preparing a report on the issue of milk based drinks for young children. The Commission’s report will be partly informed by the 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority on the same subject, which looked at nutritent requirements and recommendations, including energy intake.1 EFSA’s report warned that “observed average energy intakes in infants and young children living in Europe are generally above the AR (average requirement)” and that “energy intakes above requirements will lead to an unfavourable gain in body mass.” However, it did not draw any conclusions specifically on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children and how they could contribute to the rising levels of childhood obesity and developing tastes palates of children. Given the childhood obesity crisis, and the importance of developing healthy lifestyle behaviours in children, will the Commission ask EFSA to report specifically on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children? Will the Commission consider the effect of sugar levels in milk based drinks and how they could contribute to the excess energy intake which, as EFSA warns, is already leading to “an unfavourable gain in body mass”? Will the Commission also ask EFSA to report on sugar levels in baby foods (such as processed cereal-based foods)?
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Click Here for Press release 24.2.15
For more information contact:
UK: IBFAN: Patti Rundall: +44 7786 523493 firstname.lastname@example.org Mike Brady:email@example.com First Steps Nutrition Trust: Helen Crawley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Luxembourg: Maryse Arendt: email@example.com
Portugal: Jacqueline de Montaigne firstname.lastname@example.org
Netherlands: Caroline Kruger: email@example.com
Belgium: Gerd van Kogelenberg: firstname.lastname@example.org