Raising the bar:
India sets even higher standards for breastfeeding protection
India's regulation of the marketing of infant formulas and infant foods is a model to aspire to. Although already exemplary, recently its parliament passed yet another amendment to improve its Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, which had been in effect since 1992.
The Amendment Bill is designed to erase certain loopholes of the existing Act that allowed infant food manufacturers a growing hold over advertising and health care workers. The Bill includes:
A ban on all advertisement of infant milk substitutes and infant foods intended for use for children under the age of two years. This ban puts a considerable damper on the infant food manufacturers methods of sale given that these companies use forceful advertising and free samples to reach mothers at an early point in motherhood.
A prohibition on infant food industry funding and sponsorships for any activities such as meetings and conferences where health care workers or their associations participate.
Combined with India's progressive infant feeding policies of exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for at least two years, these measures will further protect the rights and health of India's mothers and their children.
Spring 2003 Newsletters Contents