BABY MILK ACTIONS NEWSLETTER – UD49
Codex boosts the trade of UPFs, ignoring the risks to health, biodiversity and the planet
The 43rd Codex Commission (CAC43) is meeting this week ( 24, 25, 26 September) and discussing some important issues. Thankfully, CAC is much more transparent than the nutrition meetings (CCNFSDU) CAC meetngs are webcast so everyone can follow the proceedings and check what was actually said. This is impossible at CCFSNDU where recording is forbidden.
Considering all that has happened this year and the greater public awareness of the link between health and the environment, surely its time that Codex stops green-lighting unnecessary, plastic wrapped, denatured products. UPFs are often so highly processed and full of additives that they no longer resemble their plant or animal sources. Many contain palm oil and other ingredients derived from deforestation and land-grabbing — P3 UD49
If it is to have any credibility, Codex must stop allowing weak standards to pass. Codex decisions must be made on the basis of convincing evidence.
We are especially concerned about two texts that may be moved on to the next step (Step 5) before they are ready.
1 Revision of Codex Follow-up Formula Standard. See IBFAN comments
- At the last Nutrition meeting a rushed last minite decision (initially proposed by the US on the basis of no evidence of its risk), led to an intrinsic nutrient content claim ”with added nutrients’ being added to the AGREED name Drink for Young Children. By falsely suggesting that the drinks have added nutritional value, legislators might be inclined to think the products are essential and so weaken safeguards limiting promotion. A promotional name will not only boost growth of these unnecessary products, but will mask their risks to human health, while increasing their environmental burden. .
- The text fails to forbid cross promotion between product categories, infant formula, FSMPs or other products marketed for infants and young children. See above examples of Nestlé’s marketing on for babies from 12 months that uses the Nan brand and looks almost identical
- Since WHO has clearly stated that milks for children 0-36 months function as breast milk substitutes (BMS) . It would make most sense tat all these milks are covered by oneCodex standard with one overarching preamble that forbids any promotion, including health and nutrition claims
- Although some new safeguards were included in the proposed draft text, last year, the draft Guidelines are far from adequate. RUTF are necessary in some circumstances, but they are just one option. Stronger safeguards are needed to prevent the commercial exploitation of vulnerable children and the undermining of “the UN Strategy to build capacity within countries.’
- Unless the Guidelines clearly ban general sale and promotional claims public funds will be diverted from healthier, less sweet and more sustainable solutions: breastfeeding and locally sourced, culturally appropriate, bio-diverse family foods.
IBFAN is pleased that it is likely that the work on the highly promotional and misleading definition of Biofortification will be discontinued. The definitionis highly promotional and misleading. In the EU the term Bio means ‘Organic’, so the definition would not be not legal if used in the EU (see IBFAN Statement on Biofortification)
We would be very happy for you to share this message and encourage Codex participants to support our concerns.