The New version of the proposals  HERE


Below  are PDFs of letters to the European Commissioners

We have asked the Secretary General of the Commission to ensure that the views of all the relevant DGs are taken into account, not just trade and internal market.  Please write to the Commissioners below if you can while DG Sante is still working on the proposals.

THE NEXT STAGE: Once the Commission has finalised its proposal, it will go to the World Trade Organisation (WTO ) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) committee  – for 60 days.  Any government in the world can comment and say whether it constitutes a Barrier for Trade.  Only after the summer  break will it go to MEPs.

For more information see:

How to make the Regulations better  protect child health  CLICK HERE New EU rules will trick parents into buying expensive and unnecessary products that will fuel the obesity crisis  CLICK HERE 

Letters from MEPs calling for changes and more details about inequalities, environmental concerns  CLICK HERE 


IBFAN_Malmstrom.2indd  Anna Cecilia  Malmström  European Commissioner for Trade

IBFAN_MIMICA.indd Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development

IBFAN_Thyssen  Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility (including Stepping up the struggle against inequality and poverty)

IBFAN_Bienkowska2  Elżbieta Bieńkowska  Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

IBFAN_Stylianides3  IBFAN to Christos Stylianides  Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management

IBFANtoJuncker   IBFAN to President Jean-Claude Juncker

IBFAN_Andriukaitis   IBFAN to  Vytenis Andriukaitis  Commissioner for Health

IBFANtoJourova  IBFAN to Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

IBFANtoTimmermans2   Frans Timmermans, Vice President, European Commission

Proposals pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 6092013 on baby foods  ICDC to Commissioner Andriukaitis

You can find the contact details and names of all the Commissioners  HERE


Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis

DG SANTE – DG Health and Food Safety

Rue Breydel 4

1049 Brussels



Thursday, April 30, 2015


Dear Commissioner Andriukaitis,


Proposals pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 on baby foods: denying child rights to health


I am writing on behalf of the International Baby food Action Network (IBFAN), the global network that monitors the baby food industry and works for EU Policy coherence with World Health Assembly Resolutions on infant and young child feeding.


We met at the meeting of the High level Group and members of the EU Platform on Diet Physical Activity and Health on 18th February, and perhaps you remember that I asked you a question about the serious weaknesses in the new Commission Proposals for the marketing of baby foods and formulas.


We believe that these proposals will make it almost impossible for Member States to carry out their obligations under the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Resolutions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child .  As you know these are embedded in many EU policy commitments, for example the EU Action Plan of Childhood Obesity, the Second International Nutrition Conference Political Declaration and Framework for Action etc.  Breastfeeding is one of the EUs CORE Health Indicators for Determinants of Health and the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are  also enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.


I was very pleased that you responded positively to my question, and especially your highlighting of the 120 million Europeans at risk of poverty or social exclusion. If 100 million Europeans lack access to piped water in their homes and 66 million lack access to adequate sanitation, this issue is clearly an important health and food safety issue. Artificial feeding also adds to environmental burden: 800 litres of water are needed to make a 1 litre of milk and 4700 litres for 1 kilo of milk powder  .


I was also pleased that your World Health Day statement  said that “Protecting the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production process is a key public health and economic priority” and that the EU is “leading the way to a better and sustainable future for all.”


But how can this be true when the new proposals are so bad? They will not only waste public resources, mislead parents and  threaten the success of all the above EU initiatives, but they will deny European children the right to health and set an appalling model for policy setting globally.


This is why we are urgently asking that you reflect on these concerns and adjust the text accordingly.

It may interest you to know that in 2001 we asked Robert Madelin to forward some questions to the Commission for Trade. I am pasting overleaf the answers to three of the questions that are especially relevant I think and after that I will summarise our main asks.


Yours sincerely



Patti Rundall, OBE,   Policy Director, IBFAN Global Advocacy


Dr Margaret Chan, DG, WHO

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

José Graziano da Silva, DG FAO,

Alexandra Nikolakopoulou  Head of Unit E4 Nutrition, food composition and information


Questions put to the European Commission for Trade in  2001.


IBFAN Question: Trade agreements should not undermine implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes  and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions at national level

COMMISSION ANSWER: In principle yes: the Commission subscribes to the view that international agreements, particularly, but not exclusively those related to protection of the environment or human health, and international trade rules should be mutually supportive.


IBFAN Question:  In matters of health WTO will defer to the decisions of the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy setting body (its Conventions, Resolutions etc )

COMMISSION ANSWER: International agreements/organisations should be mutually supportive, and their relationship clarified where necessary and useful


IBFAN Question: For the optimum health in infants in both Europe and Third Countries EU legislation should be brought in line with the International Code and subsequent relevant Resolutions.

COMMISSION ANSWER: To the extent that the EU and its Member States subscribe  to them – to a large extent, these are issues of Member State competence.


Summary of the MINIMUM changes that must be made if the proposals are to meet the EU’s Internationally agreed commitments and current health policies:


1. The Regulations must meet the minimum requirement of the International Code and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions, taking full consideration of their global impact. Policy coherence with the EU’s International obligations  and commitments is essential.

2. The Regulation must provide Member States with legal certainty that they can regulate marketing according to national health priorities, policies and international Human Rights commitments and obligations. As mentioned above, all EU MS have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child so are  bound to it by international law with clear obligations. Surely the Commission does not have the right to undermine a human right international law or misinterpret duty/obligation under it?  And does the Commission have the right to determine whether a national measure is justified? I understood that such things are up to the courts, and if so surely  the Commission should be pressuring Member States to consider the ‘smooth functioning of the internal market’ above health considerations. For example, we understand that Malta was sent a letter from the Commission in 2014 when it adopted its law. This resulted in Malta’s safeguards being lowered and a new law being issued.

3. The labelling and composition (specifically sugar level and age of use) of baby foods must be in line with WHO recommendationsThe Commission has been asked to deal with high sugar levels in baby foods since 2006, when it joined forces with the US in opposition to Thailand’s proposal at Codex Alimentarius.  Surely a request to EFSA to examine this issue and excess sugar in Young Child Formula should be submitted without any delay.

4. There must be prior authorization by an independent expert body such as EFSA of the safety and beneficial effect of ALL ingredients – including those voluntarily added – and of foods claiming to be Foods for Special Medical Purposes

5.  The regulations must forbid cross-promotion of formulas for older babies and  baby foods it infant formula.

6. The marketing of Formulas fo Young Children must be strictly controlled in line with WHA recommendations and the EU position at Code us be in support of WHO recommendations.

7   Exports must be in languages easily understood by consumers.



Economic Commission for Europe & World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes Working Group on Water and Health Seventh meeting Geneva, 26 and 27 November 2014   Formula for Disaster, Weighing he impact of Formula Feeding Vs Breastfeeding on Environment.

2 World Health Day: Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis joins forces with the World Health Organisation to highlight the importance of food safety. Brussels, 07 April 2015

3   Potential economic impacts from improving breastfeeding rates in the UK.  Pokhrel S, et al. Arch Dis Child 2014;0:1–7. Doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306701 Advertisements of follow-on formula and their perception by pregnant women and mothers in Italy, Cattaneo A, et al. Arch Dis Child 2014;0:1–6. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306996

4   Press Release: EU and US block Thailand’s proposal to reduce sugar in baby foods, IBFAN 2006

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