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One time chance to stop misleading information to parents: Vote in EU Parliament on 14th June

(COM(2011)0353 – C7-0169/2011 – 2011/0156(COD))
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Rapporteur: Frédérique Ries

 

CLICK HERE for the REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children and on food for special medical purposes

Click here for the updated Report

On  Thursday morning, 14th June,  there will be an important  opportunity to protect infant and young child health in Europe and globally.  European Parliamentarians (MEPs) will vote in Strasbourg (France) on a series of amendments to the above Commission proposal.

If you agree and have a spare 5 minutes  PLEASE write a short letter  (from yourself or your organisation) to urge your MEP TO SUPPORT AMENDMENTS  83 and 86  to this proposal.  (Amendments 86 and  85  specifically permit Member States to prohibit follow-on milk advertising so they would not have to fight for this right.  Amendment  83  correctly interprets WHO advice on pre-term babies.   Please ask MEPs to vote AGAINST  Amendment 13 – which is simply wrong.

 

 See below for links to MEPs,  other key amendments, a  draft letter,  etc : 

 

We are broadly in favour of the proposal which aims to  simplify baby food regulations and limit the number of ‘targeted’ foods.   We also support the majority of  MEP amendments which call for additional safety and marketing controls, independent research, the precautionary principle, transparency, greater accountability and democratic oversight and an EFSA evaluation of  so called  “growing-up” and toddler” milks which we consider to be completely unnecessary.

 

WHO and UNICEF  and the UK Food Standards Agency agree that follow-on milks are not necessary. The UN recommendations go further and call for no promotion of these products, which were invented by the baby food industry to get round marketing restrictions.   In Ireland,  the UK and many EU countries advertising and promotion for these products is unrestricted and widespread – on  buses, shopping centres and TV. For an example of the SMA Roadshow buses see:
http://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/650

 

There is clear evidence that parents are misled and confused about the value of follow-on formula by the extensive advertising  that  inevitably promotes the whole range of  products for babies.  Indeed a MORI survey commissioned by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and UNICEF UK  showed that:

 

• almost two-thirds of UK parents said they had seen adverts  for infant formula, although this has been banned in the UK for many years

• one third of parents believe that the adverts gave the impression that formula was ‘as good as’ or ‘better than’ breastmilk.

 

If you agree that this promotion should stop please do take a moment to write a short note to your MEP.  This chance is unlikely to come round again soon.

Thank you

 

Please support Amendment 86 which says:

“Advertising of infant formulae and follow-on formulae shall be restricted to publications specialising in baby care and scientific publications and shall contain only information of a scientific and factual nature. Member States may further restrict or prohibit such advertising. The advertising of infant formulae and follow-on formulae shall be such that it enables consumers to make a clear distinction between infant formulae and follow-on formulae and avoids any risk of confusion between the above mentioned categories of products.”

 

Please support  Amendment No 83 -which correctly cites the WHO advice on formulas for low-birth weight babies):

“According to the WHO recommendations, low-birth weight infants should be fed their mother’s own milk. Nonetheless, a small proportion of low birth-weight infants and pre-term infants may have special nutritional requirements which cannot always be met by the mother’s own milk or standard infant formulae. Food for such infants should comply with rules applicable to food for special medical purposes, when this kind of food is chosen as the most appropriate formula, taking into account the specific medical situation of the infant. Formula intended for low birth weight or pre-term infants should in any event comply with the requirements of Directive 2006/141/EC.” 

Justification

“Protecting breastfeeding in this vulnerable group of infants is particularly important. The percentage of low birth-weight and pre-term infants that might be considered to require supplements of vitamins and minerals in addition to mother’s milk, principally the ones with a very low birth weight, is very small (e.g. the number of infants below 1500g is 1% of all UK births). If the formulation of the ENVI report remains unchanged, it might be interpreted as if low birth-weight and pre-term infants would generally or often need special formula. This is not the case, and WHO clearly recommends to feed low-birth weight infants mother’s own milk.

Please discourage support for Amendment 13  which is incorrect and says: (16a) “According to the WHO recommendations, low-birth weight infants should be fed their mother’s own milk. Nonetheless, low birth-weight infants and pre-term infants often have special nutritional requirements which cannot be met by the mother’s own milk or standard infant formulae. …….

 

For examples of follow-on milk promotion follow these links:

Wyeth Roadshow

Nestlé weakens its breastmilk substitutes marketing policy

http://www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk/reports/bflgreports

 

For the voting list CLICK HERE

 

 There are many other good amendments  that call for independent research and the precautionary principle to be used in decisions – please support the  following.

No 85 – We want MEPs to  vote for this amendment, (which allows Member States to ban the advertising of baby foods)  if Amendment 86 does not get  through.

No 84 – calling for stricter rules on pesticides in the production of food for infants and young children because they are especially sensitive to endocrine disruptors or other toxic substances.

14, 57  requiring peer-reviewed and independently evaluated evidence

54 national competent authorities to ensure an adequate system of oversight

 58 products shall not imply prevention, treatment or cure of human disease

 59 infant formula and follow-on formula labels shall not include pictures of infants, nor other pictures or text which may idealise

68 calls for  post- market monitoring

 

76 calls for more transparency

81 calls for an assessment by EFSA of milks for older babies (the so-called ‘growing up’ and ‘toddler’ milks. “The Commission shall, after consulting the European Food Safety Authority, submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing the need for special provisions regarding the composition and labelling of milks intended for young children between one and three years. This report shall consider the nutritional needs, the pattern of consumption, the nutritional intake and the levels of exposure to contaminants and pesticides of these young children. The report shall also consider whether these milks have any nutritional benefits when compared to a normal diet for a child who is being weaned. In the light of the conclusions of that report, the Commission shall either:….

 

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2012-0059&language=EN&mode=XML

 

 

To find your MEP follow this link: http://www.writetothem.com/

 

 Use this link to find the MEPs on the  Interest Group on Maternal and Neonatal Health in the European Parliament  http://www.efcni.org/index.php?id=121 

Other key MEPs
 
Frederique Ries, MEP  frederique.ries@europarl.europa.eu (Rapporteur)
Carl  Schlyter, MEP carl.schlyter@europarl.europa.eu  (Leader of the Greens)
Dr Peter Liese, MEP  peter.liese@europarl.europa.eu 
Glenis Willmott, MEP glenis.willmott@europarl.europa.eu 
Daciana Octavia SARBU, MEP” dacianaoctavia.sarbu@europarl.europa.eu 
Antonyia  Parvonova, MEP  antonyia.parvanova@europarl.europa.eu 
Esther De Lange, MEP esther.delange@europarl.europa.eu 
Elisabetta Gardini elisabetta.gardini@europarl.europa.eu 
Kartika Liotard, MEP kartikatamara.liotard@europarl.europa.eu
Nigel Farage, MEP    nigel.farage@europarl.europa.eu

 

Suggested text for your letter:


Re: VOTE in the European Parliament, 14th June on amendments to the

 


Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children and on food for special medical purposes

 

 

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

 


Rapporteur: Frédérique Ries
 
Dear [Member of Parliament / NAME]
DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AND INTEREST
UN recommendations are clear that the promotion of all breast milk substitutes – including follow-on formulas for older babies should not be permitted.  The widespread promotion of these products has confused and misled countless parents and undermined the  messages  health authorities are trying to disemminate. 
Please VOTE FOR Amendment no 86 which will specifically allow Member States to prohibit the advertising of follow-on formulas. 
Please also VOTE AGAINST Amendment 13 (which is simply wrong about the need for formulas for pre-term babies) – VOTE INSTEAD FOR Amendment 83.
 
There are many other good amendments  that call for independent research and the precautionary principle to be used in decisions – please support the following:   
85 – which allows Member States to ban the advertising of baby foods – please vote for this  if Amendment 86 does not get through;
84 – calling for stricter rules on pesticides in the production of food for infants and young children because they are especially sensitive to endocrine disruptors or other toxic substances;
14, 57 – requiring peer-reviewed and independently evaluated evidence;
54 – national competent authorities to ensure an adequate system of oversight;
58 – products shall not imply prevention, treatment or cure of human disease;
59 – infant formula and follow-on formula labels shall not include pictures of infants, nor other pictures or text which may idealise; &
68 – calls for post- market monitoring.
76 calls for more transparency
81 calls for an assessment by EFSA of milks for older babies (the so-called ‘growing up’ and ‘toddler’ milks

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(COM(2011)0353 – C7-0169/2011 – 2011/0156(COD))
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Rapporteur: Frédérique Ries

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