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Breastmilk Substitutes: International Code of Marketing

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 19 July 2022

3. If his Department will take steps to fully implement the international code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes. (901151)

The Government recognise that the code is intended to promote breastfeeding. Existing legislation in the UK implements its general principles, giving effect to its aim of covering marketing, accounting, information and the responsibilities of health authorities. As well as restricting advertising to scientific and specialist babycare publications, it sets requirements for labelling, presentation and advertising so as not to discourage breastfeeding. Guidance on working within the code is available to service commissioners, providers and practitioners.

As the World Health Organisation’s recent status report on implementation of the code gives the UK a mark of only 40 out of a possible 100, the UK could clearly be doing a great deal more to implement a code that was intended to protect breastfeeding, and to protect those who are bottle-feeding from marketing influence. Will the Minister meet me and the all-party parliamentary group on infant feeding and inequalities to discuss the issue further?

I commend the hon. Lady for the work that she does through her all-party parliamentary group. The Government recognise the importance of these issues, which is why we recently committed £50 million to improve breastfeeding support in 75 local authorities. I should be delighted to meet the hon. Lady and the APPG.