3 Apr 2015

Infant formula advertising restrictions allowed

3:59 pm on 3 April 2015

The Commerce Commission is allowing restrictions on the way infant formula is marketed.

The Infant Nutrition Council asked the Commission to endorse its proposed restrictions on advertising and marketing of infant formula for children under six months of age.

Under New Zealand law, it is illegal to be anti-competitive, but the Commission said the public benefits of higher breastfeeding rates outweighed any competitive loss.

Council chief executive Jan Carey said it sought the endorsement to reassure members they were following the law, and to uphold its own values of protecting breastfeeding.

"Infant formula was invented to be a substitute when a baby can't get breastmilk. So the infant formula companies are not in the infant formula industry, they're in the infant nutrition industry, and the nest nutrition for a baby is breastmilk."

The restrictions included not advertising infant formula, not distributing gifts or free samples to pregnant mothers and not offering inducements to health professionals.

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