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Sweden mulls banning babies in formula ads

Published: 07 Nov 2012 14:54 GMT+01:00

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.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

Your comments about this article

17:42 November 7, 2012 by texaslass
I have a general question that relates to this: in Sweden, must employers offer rooms at the place of employment for women to pump milk? Because it would seem that if breastfeeding were expected of women, then women should be granted certain workplace benefits like time for pumping milk and a nice room with adequate refrigeration.
18:35 November 7, 2012 by Migga
Women get payed leave in Sweden so they can do that at home.
19:53 November 7, 2012 by caitnor
but what if they go back to work after 6 months and are still nursing?
21:54 November 7, 2012 by Migga
They pump the milk into bottles and let the dads stay home and do the feeding.
00:58 November 8, 2012 by caitnor
Yes, but when/where do they do the pumping? If you need to feed the 6 month old the next day wouldn't you have to pump while you are at work to keep up your supply? It would be very hard to nurse when you get home from work and then pump at night for the next day and then nurse in the morning and then not express during the work day because your supply would be too high and you would need to express the milk somehow. Maybe most women in Sweden are done nursing by the time they go back to work?
02:29 November 8, 2012 by shannnon
Sweden has very generous maternity & paternity leave laws. Parents get much longer than 6 months. But I imagine if the mother did go back to work earlier and needed to pump, then they would allow that in the workplace. If they care this much about families and breastfeeding then I am willing to bet they have laws that protect them and allow for pumping at work (even the U.S. has these laws in place, despite low breastfeeding rates and poor maternity leave).
07:56 November 8, 2012 by BackpackerKev
If the ads are only going to be published in scientific journals and in publications specializing in infant care, I'm quite sure, if not positive, the banning of a child image is going to make no difference at all.

Given now this is taking away valuable and sometimes balanced information for mothers and quite literally forcing them to purchase publications to see what options are out there if a mother cannot nurse from day 1, I feel this somewhat unacceptable.
08:39 November 8, 2012 by becksoz1
So lets get this straight, baby formula is clearly not natural, so should be discouraged? In that case a Caesar delivery should also be discouraged?
09:12 November 8, 2012 by Beavis
utter nonsense- what if the mother cant breastfeed (very common) should she be made feel so bad by giving her child formula?? also after couple of months ifs a GOOD idea to give your baby a mix of both in order to let the mother get some much needed sleep and someone else can take over. At the end of the day is should be up to the mother NOT the state. Breast feeding is the best way for small babies, but its not always possible.
10:56 November 8, 2012 by Flappytango
@becksoz1

Yes Caesar is discouraged in sweden....

Even if you required it on your previous delivery
20:05 November 8, 2012 by Ankinette
Like the packs of cigarettes... This makes me sick. Soon it will be illegal to sell it!
21:20 November 8, 2012 by dizzymoe33
This story is so stupid. There many women that can not breastfeed and have no choice but to give the baby formula. There are millions of children that have not been breastfeed due to problems with feeding or being adopted or a death of the mother and those children were raised on formula and have turned out just fine. It is a woman's choice as to breastfeed or not and no one else's business. There is nothing wrong with a child receiving formula instead of breast milk.

These women who give their babies formula should not be ridiculed or persecuted for that decision.
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