Health Canada revision of Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from birth to six months
Health Canada is planning the revision of Canada’s infant and young child feeding policy statement: Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants.
The first draft revision makes recommendations for infants from birth to six months.
It is critical that Canada’s revision reflect the evidence based, optimal feeding practices as recommend by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding.
INFACT Canada urges all those working with infants and young children to respond to the on-line request for comment. The time line to respond is very short: January 6 to February 3, 2011.
INFACT Canada has prepared general comment on the overall draft revision and also specific comment to the proposed principles and the recommendations.
You may wish to use the INFACT Canada comment or add to it, or prepare your own comment. Any way, we urge you to submit your comment to ensure that optimal infant feeding recommendations are protected. “As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal, growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues up to two years or beyond.” (WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, 2003)
A petition has been drafted asking Health Canada to extend the deadline for the online consultation and to implement cross-country consultation meetings as they have done recently for revisions to Canada's Food Guide and Canada's Physical Activity Guideline.
INFACT Canada’s General Comments on the Proposed Draft
Conflict of Interest declarations provided by the Expert Advisory Group
INFACT Canada’s position is that those with conflicts of interest should not be working on infant and young child public nutrition policies and should not be participating in this process.
James Friel: Serves on the advisory boards of Heinz and Danone (Both Heinz and Danone are manufacturers of complementary food products and infant formulas and are in serious violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly).
Sheila Innis: Researcher in infant feeding and infant formulas. Receives research funding from infant formula manufacturers Mead Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and the from Martek Biosciences the maker of fungi and algae sourced fatty acids, DHA and ARA. (All three industries are in serious violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant resolutions of the WHA).
Daniel Roth: Is a researcher in vitamin D and has received a travel grant to attend the International Congress of Nutrition from the Organizing Committee sponsored by Coca Cola.
The remaining five members of the Advisory Group have no competing interests.
Breastfeeding is the normative way to feed infants
Industrially manufactured infant formulas differ very significantly in nutritional and chemical content as well as the means of feeding. The lumping these two into one document creates a flawed impression that breastfeeding and formula feeding are similar and interchangeable.
INFACT Canada recommends that Canada’s Nutrition for Health Term Infants should make recommendations about the biologically normal way to feed infants.
The feeding of other manufactured “milks” should be dealt with as an intervention and the conditions for the use of these products should be addressed either in an appendix or in a separate document on the use of artificial feeding methods and products. Full information about the risks of the use of these products and the feeding methods needs to be stated. Parents should be fully informed when making infant feeding decisions.
The International Code and WHA
Canada’s government through its delegations to the World Health Assembly have endorsed the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and all the relevant WHA resolutions on Infant and Young Child Nutrition. It is vital that Health Canada take responsibility and leadership in realizing the implementation of the WHO provisions they have endorsed.
The International Code and WHA resolution measures are critical to protect the ability of mothers to fully breastfeed their children as recommended. The undermining interference on optimal breastfeeding practices resulting from the continued violations of the provisions of the International Code and resolutions, are extremely costly in personal loss, in health outcomes and in health costs. We all benefit when our children are breastfed.