ACCC Continues Ban On Infant Formula Advertising, But Cites New Fears Surrounding Toddler Formula

ACCC Continues Ban On Infant Formula Advertising, But Cites New Fears Surrounding Toddler Formula
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine
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The ACCC has reauthorised their agreement with baby formula manufacturers, prohibiting them from advertising or promoting infant formula to the public.

The MAIF (Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula) agreement has been in place since 1992, as a self-regulatory agreement code of conduct between manufacturers and importers of infant formula. Now, the ACCC has accepted the MAIF Agreement will continue to maintain restrictions on promoting breastmilk alternatives, and the Agreement has been authorised until 2024.

ACCC deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said: “without this agreement among infant formula manufacturers and importers there is a risk of an increase in the marketing of infant formula, both directly to consumers and indirectly through references to infants in the marketing of toddler milk.”

“A continued ban on infant formula advertising is likely to result in public benefits by protecting rates of breastfeeding, which has significant public health benefits.”

However, the ACCC has new concerns about the promotion of toddler milk, which they say could be “significantly undermining” the affectiveness of the MAIF Agreement. At present, the Agreement doesn’t stop companies promoting toddler milk.

“The ACCC has noted the rise in advertising for toddler milk products, and is aware of concerns that this may be used as a proxy to market infant formula,” continued Rickard.

“Our decision on whether to authorise this agreement was finely balanced as a result.”

“We can only grant authorisation in cases where the public benefit outweighs the detriment, and we carefully considered whether this agreement reached that threshold.”

We would encourage the Department of Health to consider these issues through its broad review of the effectiveness of this agreement, which is due to be undertaken later this year.”

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