The International Association of Infant Food Manufacturers (IFM), located in Paris, and represented at WHO and Codex by Ms. Andrée Bronner, issued a communiqué to all its members outlining its strategy to block the move to “exclusive breastfeeding for six months”.
The IFM message issued in March of 2000 read:
Any action dealing with Infant and Young Child Nutrition should be delayed until the World Health Assembly 2002.
Delaying tactics have been evident over the past seven years and were again used at this year’s Health Assembly. Also at stake is the possibility that the issue, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding, will be settled at the Codex Alimentarius meeting on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses meeting this November in Berlin. At this meeting, the labeling of infant formulas and cereal-based foods for infants will be determined. By attempting to delay a decision past this critical meeting, the IFM could cast the labeling decision in their favour, permitting manufacturers to label foods as suitable for infants four months old.
Fortunately, infant health is a priority for many, and the huge global efforts to support the outcomes of the Technical Consultation on the Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding turned the WHA decision in May of this year in favour of waiting until babies are six months before adding other foods.
Many will be watching the Codex outcomes this November.
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