Watering down the Milk Code
By CHERYLL D. FIEL
DAVAO CITY — The phrase “breast milk is still best for babies” has become a byword in commercials and labels on infant formula milk thanks to the Milk Code which mandates this marking on the packaging of formula milk.
The Milk Code, known as Executive Order 51, is now on its 25th year. The Code encourages the practice of breastfeeding for infants. A study shows that four of 10 mothers provide their infants breast milk, a practice that health experts cite to have reduced infant mortality and increased protection from illnesses. The Code also limits marketing and commercials of formula milk to children aged three and up.
But these labels might soon be erased as House Bill 3396 seeks among others to amend restrictions in the Code and allow aggressive marketing of infant formula milk catering to infants as young as six months.
The amendments have breastfeeding advocates in Davao fighting to stop the bill. Mommy Sense, a Davao-based breastfeeding support group gathered last June 16 to point out that the bill may erode the gains in the advocacy on breastfeeding and add burden to Filipino families to put up with the cost of formula milk.
The draft bill, “An Act Promoting Comprehensive Program on Breastfeeding Practices and Regulating the Trade, Marketing and Promotions of Certain foods for Infants and Children,” has the following amendments:
• removing marketing restrictions on formula milk products
• removing the mandated labels on milk products that promote breast milk and cite the dangers of formula feeding
• disentitle working mothers in which their salaries will be deducted due to lactation breaks of 40 minutes per day
• allow direct advertising or giving of samples or supplies in hospitals and other health institutions, or mother-baby events.
Alexandria Hao and Lyn Tan, co-founders of Mommy Sense, said these amendments undermine the benefits of breast milk which are far and wide..... MORE
(Without Fear or Favor)
Monday, July 9, 2012
Watering down the Milk Code
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