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Sweden mulls banning babies in formula ads

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14:54 CET+01:00
Using photos of babies to market baby formula could soon be banned in Sweden, as the government bids to discourage mothers from choosing powdered milk over breastfeeding.

The law, under preparation by Sweden's ministry for rural affairs, would mean that ads for infant formula could only be published in scientific journals and in publications specializing in infant care.

It would also ban infant formula makers from featuring babies on the packaging, to avoid idealizing use of the product. Instead, packaging should feature a graphic description of how to prepare the product.

Offering free samples of infant formula or selling the products at a discounted price would be strictly forbidden. And the packaging information could not suggest that formula was a good alternative to, or better choice than, breastfeeding.

The packaging should also clearly state that parents should not give formula to babies without a recommendation from a person with the appropriate training, according to the memorandum from the ministry.

For 30 years, the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) and the baby food industry have agreed not to actively market infant formula, according to a report in the journal Riksdag och Department.

The new legislation will incorporate an EU directive into Swedish law, superseding the agreement.

The 2006 directive aims to ensure infant formula is used in the right way, based on accurate information and through appropriate marketing.

The new law would come into effect on August 1st 2013, according to the memorandum from the agriculture ministry.

For more on Sweden's "breast is best" attitude to formula and one of The Local's contributor's take on it, click here.

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Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

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