UK accession to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Inquiry
Following the announcement of the UK’s accession on 16 July, the UK International Agreements Committee is reactivating its inquiry into CPTPP and is gathering new evidence, regarding the potential benefits and disadvantages, and provisions for key UK sectors..
Along with many NGOs, Milk Action IBFAN UK has made a submission, highlighting our concerns that are based on many years experience in Trade discussions, particularly at Codex. We share the concerns of the Trade Justice Movement and other NGOs about the inclusion of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism in CPTPP and the lack of an overarching, planetary and health protective trade strategy.
Published 4 September 2023. Deadline 11:59pm on 16 October 2023.
We welcome responses from any interested person, business or organisation. The easiest way to respond is by completing the online survey.If you are unable to use the online form, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not send any personal information to this email address.
Review of the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement (MAIF Agreement)
Deadline 12th March 2023.
The Australian Government is seeking feedback to inform the Review of the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement (MAIF Agreement). The MAIF Agreement is a very weak, limited voluntary, self-regulatory code of conduct between manufacturers and importers of infant formula products in Australia.
In 2021 we submitted comments to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) opposing the renewal of the MAIF agreement. Our response explains why this approach is so bad.
Baby Milk Action also made a submission expressing concern about the definition of a product as ‘less healthy’ and the difficulty of defining a product’s sweetness and the extent of processing. There are many ultra-processed drinks and products coming onto the market that might easily slide under the radar because they claim to have low sugar content. Yet they might contain harmful additives and flavourings and taste sweet. The difficulty of establishing sweetness in commercial formulas for young children has been acknowledged by the Codex Nutrition Committee (CCNFSDU) and the EU and Switzerland have proposed methods for establishing sweetness. Products can claim to be ‘healthy’ and to provided ‘essential nutrients’ but still carry many risks to child health.
Our concern about Ultra Processed products remains. The Sugar/ Salt /Fat content is very important butcertainly not the only consideration. Aside from the environmental harms of UPF packaging, these products are denatured and additive-laden. They continue to have a disastrous impact on human health and are a significant cause of premature death. (see refs) Most UPFs carry promotional claims for micronutrients, masking the true nature of the product. UPFs undermine healthy, bio-diverse family foods, fuel the obesity epidemic and undermine breastfeeding – the nutritional, immunological health protective norm that is a lifeline for many children.
We believe following products should not be listed as “exempt soft drinks”
- infant formula and follow-on formula (subject to legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2016/127)
- food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes (subject to legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2016/128)
- baby foods and processed cereal-based foods (subject to legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/32 young child formula or milk-based drinks for young children at least to age 1-3 years (including ‘growing up’ and ‘toddler milks’) andall ultra processed milks for older children.
Apart from the Infant formula and FSMPs The World Health Assembly has stated clearly that follow-up formulas for older babies and all milk products that are marketed for children under 36 months are NOT necessary and should not be promoted. We support the comments made by First Steps Nutrition and the Baby Feeding Law Group.
CCFL – (Labelling Committee – May 2023)
CCFSNDU (Nutrition Committee March 2023)
SUMMARY OF IBFAN’s CONCERNS: There are still many unresolved issues on the standard including: sodium levels, sweetness; flavourings, inadequate safeguards to prevent the Cross Promotion that misleads so many parent. Most importantly, a Preamble is needed to ensure that Member States are not challenged when adopting legislation in line with WHO recommendations to halt promotion of these products – ideally before they are placed on the market.
IBFAN comments on the RUTF Guidelines
DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR READY TO USE THERAPEUTIC FOODS (RUTF)
(For adoption at Step 8)
Some important safeguards were added to the text of the Guidelines last year and it is important that these are not lost, in particular the clear ban on the use of health and nutrition claims, clarity that RUTF is not for general retail sale,and the recommendation that RUTF should be used in an “appropriately designed programme that promotes continuation of breastfeeding, appropriate transition to nutritious family food and psycho-social support for recovery.”
However we did not succeed in getting restrictions on sweetness, or references to training on re-lactation despite some support from USA, Brazil and Colombia.
If the issue is opened up for discussion IBFAN proposes the following improvements:
Children affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) need efficacious and timely intervention including safe, palatable foods with a high energy content and adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients within an appropriately designed programme that promotes supportscontinuation of breastfeeding, training in re-lactation and appropriate transition to nutritious family food and psycho-social support for recovery. In accordance with the Joint Statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (2007) and taking note of other relevant documents by WHO and FAO, Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is a WHO recommended option for the dietary management of children aged 6 to 59 months with SAM without medical complications. However, this does not preclude othermore culturally appropriate dietary options including the use of nutrient dense, family-based local foods. RUTF is not for general retail sale.
Carbohydrates are used to achieve energy requirements in balance with proteins and lipids. Plant starch, lactose, maltodextrin and sucrose are the preferred carbohydrates in RUTF. Free sugars should be limited and should not exceed 20% of total energy. Only precooked and/or gelatinized starches may be added. Glucose and fructose should not be used. Carbohydrates must adhere to the relevant Codex Alimentarius texts.
Honey should not be used in RUTF due to the risk of infant botulism from Clostridium botulinum.
The total CHO can be 20% of total energy and since the peanut pastes use sucrose and maltodextrin to make them palatable, this creates a high level of sweetness as well as the use of a non-nutritive CHO as 20% of total energy.
IBFAN recommends that sucrose and maltodextrin be no more than 10% of the total CHO of the product.
12.4 The following additional statements shall appear on the label of RUTF:
- The product is not to be used for Nasogastric Tube (NG tube) administration.
- The product should be used in conjunction with breastfeeding.
- Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life, and continued breastfeeding is recommended for up to two years or beyond.
12.5 Instructions for use
- The label should indicate clearly from which age the product is recommended for use. This age shall not be less than six months for any product.
- Feeding instructions shall be given; preferably accompanied by graphical presentations.
- Feeding instructions must include the availability of potable water needed to address thirst conditions when consuming RUTF.
- The time within which the product should be consumed after opening should be clearly indicated.
In August Member States were asked to comments on the Preamble and Structure of the Standard for follow-up formula (CXS 156-1987)
The Codex Standard for Follow-up Formula (FUF), adopted in 1987, failed to protect breastfeeding and child health and boosted the growth of a $ multi-billion market for unnecessary, denatured, sweetened, flavoured, ultra-processed milk drinks. The Standard also fueled the obesity epidemic and added to the environmental burden.(i)
The food industry and exporting countries regularly use Codex standards and trade ‘agreements’ to challenge governments who wish to strengthen national legislation to protect health. Indeed between 1995 and 2019, there were 245 interventions made in the WTO concerning commercial milk formula marketing, labelling or safety testing regulations of another member state [ii]
The revision of the standard, prompted by New Zealand in 2011, has improved some sections, but many weaknesses remain. Misleading cross promotion is not forbidden (ii) and sodium levels, flavourings and methods of analysis for sweetness are unresolved. Governments are only now being asked about the structure and whether there should be a preamble.
IBFAN is urging Member States to work for the strongest possible safeguards and are opposed to the industry-friendly idea of TWO separate standards (one for Follow-Up Formula and one for Drinks for Young Children). We believe that ONE standard, sub-divided into FOUR sections covering Infant Formula, Formulas for Special Medical Purposes, Follow-up Formula and Drinks is the safest and easiest option for governments to follow and use in national legislation (see EU Model law). One FUF standard with TWO sections is the second best option. A strong Preamble is also needed to clarify that follow-up formulas and drinks are not necessaryand should not be promoted as recommended by the International Code and WHA Resolutions.
Should Business NGOs sit on country delegations?Question to the Codex Secretariat during the CAC briefing 29th July 2022.
Member States are being asked about the Structure.
IBFAN is strongly opposed to Option 1.b: the industry-friendly option that proposes the creation of two separate standards for Follow-Up Formula and Drinks for Young Children
We favour Option 1.d: one standard, sub-divided into four sections covering Infant Formula, Formulas for Special Medical Purposes, Follow-up Formula and Drinks for Young Children. This would facilitate more efficient and simplified law-making.
Our second choice is Option 1a. one standard in two parts, covering Follow-up Formula and Part B for Drinks for Young Children. If this is chosen we strongly advise that at national level formulas and foods for Infants and young children are legislated together. (see EU Model law)
Do you think this standard (s) requires a Preamble?
IBFAN strongly supports the inclusion of a Preamble that clarifies that the products are all covered by the World Health Organization recommendations and World Health Assembly outcomes. It can clarify that the products are not necessary. It can ensure policy coherence between Codex and the World Health Assembly and help governments understand where these products ‘fit’ in the national regulatory context, before these products are placed on the market.
_______________________________________________________________________i For decades Codex has been green-lighting the global trade of unnecessary, plastic wrapped, denatured, ultra-processed products that will stay on shelves for two years. According to a study by Dr Julie Smith, of the Australian National University, “The most alarming finding in our latest research is a very large proportion of greenhouse gas emission impact is associated with the so-called growing up milks or toddler formula … In China, nearly half of the sales of milk formula is toddler formula.”
[ii] Russ K, Baker P, Byrd M, et al. What you don’t know about the Codex can hurt you: how trade policy trumps global health governance in infant and young child nutrition. International Journal of Health Policy and Management 2021; 10(12): 983-97. Baker et al. Globalization and Health (2021) 17:58. Advocacy at Work During the Codex Committee on Food Labelling Meeting
iii ‘Cross Promotion’ or ‘brand stretching’ is a well-known, deceptive marketing technique used to expand the sale of products such as alcohol, tobacco, soft drinks and baby formulas, whose marketing is restricted because of public health concerns. Cross Promotion where products copy the branding and appearance of infant formulas is especially harmful because it increases the risk of young infants being fed with entirely inappropriate products.In one third of the world’s countries breastfeeding is a lifeline and the majority of children are breastfed in the 2nd year of life.
Unhealthy UN partnerships: The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are the parent bodies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In 2021 FAO adopted a new Private Sector engagement strategy that is already shifting FAO’s focus from protecting its integrity, impartiality and mandate, towards working with the private sector, attracting funding for FAO and facilitating business operations. The FAO strategy establishes FAO as a “matchmaking” hub, linking member countries and relevant private sector entities around shared priorities and investments. FAO intends to continue to receive financial and in-kind contributions from the private sector to support its own programmes and projects in areas of ‘mutual interest’. FAO’s partnership with Danone is worrying in relation to infant feeding. FAO’s partnership with Croplife a trade association that promotes agricultural technologies such as pesticides and plant biotechnology) is also highly problematic.
SUBJECT: Request for comments on the preamble and structure: review of the Standard for follow-up formula (CXS 156-1987) DEADLINE: 31 August 2022
1. The 42nd Session of the Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU42) agreed that a discussion paper would be prepared by New Zealand to address the preamble and structure of the revised standard(s). 1
2. The discussion paper is provided in the Appendix to this circular letter.
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
3. Replies are requested on the questions raised on the structure and preamble in sections 1.3 and 2.4 of the discussion paper, respectively. When providing replies, members and observers should take into account the background to previous discussions and considerations as outlined in the discussion paper.
4. The aforementioned questions are uploaded to the Codex Online Commenting System (OCS): https://ocs.codexalimentarius.org/, as per the guidance below.
GUIDANCE ON THE PROVISION OF COMMENTS
5. Comments should be submitted through the Codex Contact Points of Codex members and observers using the OCS.
6. Contact Points of Codex members and observers may login to the OCS and access the document open for comments by selecting “Enter” in the “My reviews” page, available after login to the system.
7. Other OCS resources, including the user manual and short guide, can be found at the following link: http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/resources/circular-letters/en/.
8. For questions on the OCS, please contact Codex-OCS@fao.org.
cl22_24e FUF Request for comment on structure and preamble August 31, 2022
Russ K, Baker P, Byrd M, et al. What you don’t know about the Codex can hurt you: how trade policy trumps global health governance in infant and young child nutrition. Int Journ Health Policy and Management 2021; 10(12): 983-97.
Baker et al. Globalization and Health (2021) 17:58. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-021-00708-1
Re: CCFL-Session 47-CL 2022/12-FL – Request for information on sustainability labelling
Inter-session work on sustainability labelling. c/o Codex Committee on Food Labelling, Ottawa, Canada
IBFAN, the global network that has been working to improve Codex standards and guidelines since 1995, submits the following comments in relation to your request for information on sustainability labelling on foods.
We recognise the urgent need to address the environmental impact of the global trade in foods and in particular ultra-processed foods targeting children, so we welcome this initiative to conduct a stocktake of sustainability labelling. However, we do so with caution, aware that a meaningful Codex guideline that prioritises human and ecosystem health over the facilitation of global trade will be a challenge.
Although we have not compiled a specific report, IBFAN’s regular monitoring reveals that sustainability claims alongside health claims are now commonly used to promote foods for infants and young children.[i] At the same time numerous industry-inspired certification schemes and multi-stakeholder initiatives are adding to parental and general public confusion. The sustainability claims are misleading, unsubstantiated and little more than ‘greenwashing’ but they are alluring. Such claims not only violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions [ii]but obscure the fact that breastfeeding alongside minimally processed family foods, is the most environmentally friendly way to feed an infant, resulting in zero waste, minimal greenhouse gases, and negligible water footprint.[iii]
In the light of these important considerations we hope the following points can be included in the discussion paper
- The need for effective conflicts of interest safeguards in all national and international policy arenas. This would help ensure that policy-setting processes are protected from commercial influence and increase the likelihood that sustainability labelling is transparent, uniform, accurate and does not mislead consumers or undermine its purpose.
- Prioritisation of mandatory warnings that are independently-monitored and enforced.
- Exclusion of all products targeting infants and children under 5 years in sustainability labelling schemes.
IBFAN is happy to provide more detailed input as the inter-session work continues and at the CCFL47 session in Ottawa
[ii] Breastfeeding has a crucial role in child survival, providing food, care, immune support while protecting children from malnutrition in all its forms.
[iii] IBFAN Health and Environmental impacts https://www.ibfan.org/infant-and-young-child-feeding-health-and-environmental-impacts/
‘Greenhouse gases from baby milk formula’: Dadhich JP, Smith JP, Iellamo A, Suleiman A. Climate change and infant nutrition: Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from milk formula sold in selected Asia Pacific Countries: Asia Pacific Journal of Human Lactation 2012. May;37(2):314-‐22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33586512/ https://www.bpni.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Green-Feeding-RC-Carbon-Footprint-10-Asian-Countries.pdf
Important Codex dates:
Arrangements for CAC45
Following consultation with FAO and WHO, the plenary discussions of CAC45 will be held physically in FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy with the option of virtual participation on 21 – 25 November 2022, while report adoption on 12 – 13 December will be held in virtual mode only. An information note providing further information is attached in English. Other language versions will be shared as soon as they are available.
The Secretariat will convene a virtual information event on 29 July 2022 (12:00 to 13:30 CEST) to address any questions relating to CAC45. Register for this event now here. This event will have interpretation in all six Codex languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian Spanish).
CCSCH6: 26 – 30 September 2022 with report adoption on 3 October 2022 (virtual). Registration is now open on the Codex Online Registration system.
CCAFRICA24: 5 – 9 September 2022 with report adoption on 13 September 2022 (virtual)
CCASIA22: 12, 13, 14, 17, 18 and 21 October 2022 (virtual)
CCLAC22: 24 – 28 October 2022 (virtual)
CCEXEC83: 14 – 18 November 2022 (physical with option for remote participation)
CAC45: 21 – 25 November 2022 (physical IN ROME with option for remote participation) with report adoption on 12 – 13 December 2022 (virtual)
CCFH53: 29 November – 2 December 2022 (San Diego, California, USA (with live broadcast) with report adoption on 8 December 2022 (virtual) and physical working group meetings on 27 and 28 November 2022.
Meeting dates confirmed in the Codex Calendar for 2023:
CCNASWP16: 30 January – 3 February 2023
CCRVDF26: 13 – 17 February 2023
CCNFSDU43: 6 – 10 March 2023
CCFA53: 27 – 31 March 2023
CCCF16: 17 – 21 April 2023
CCFICS26: 1 – 5 May 2023
CCFL47: 15 – 19 May 2023
CCMAS42: 12 – 16 June 2023
CCPR54: 26 June to 1 July 2023
CCEXEC84: 11 – 14 and 19 July 2023
CCGP33: 2 – 6 October 2023
CCEXEC85: 20 – 24 November 2023
CAC46: 27 November – 2 December 2023
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