According to Baby Milk Action, the new regulations are still far from international minimum standards called for by the UN human rights bodies; however they believe it is an improvement following numerous campaigns.
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, Mike Brady said: “We mounted a campaign in Parliament specifically calling for Improvement Notices to have deadlines attached, to lead to criminal prosecutions if they are ignored and for them to be public. Two of the three calls have been met in the legislation.
“We will now ask for Improvement Notices to be issued and made public for the many breaches of the regulations that have gone unpunished.”
The new Improvement Notice will be legally binding, which means it is now a criminal offence in England and Wales, under the Statutory Instruments, for companies to not act by the specified deadline when it comes to the marketing of milk formula and baby food.
Baby Milk Action’s Policy Director, Patti Rundall added: “In this confusing post-Brexit time, it is important to remember that while the EU has not implemented all the safeguards parents and children need, it has been through the EU that some very important legal controls on the way baby foods are marketed and manufactured have been adopted.
“The purpose of the Precautionary Principle, one of the EU’s fundamental principles, is to prevent risky products and technologies – GMOs, hormone-laced beef and milk, misleading marketing etc.”
The Statutory Instrument for England (SI 2016 No 688) will enforce the provisions of EU regulation 609/2013 on food for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control.
It is currently unknown how the UK leaving the EU will affect these changes or whether the UK Government will build on the regulations.
Keep up to date with the latest research and news from MIDIRS by subscribing to our quarterly academic journal. Subscribe to MIDIRS Midwifery Digest