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Published on 15 January 2008

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Manufacturers challenge EU infant formula rules

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Babymilk manufacturers have mounted a legal challenge to updated EU rules on infant formulae which have just come into force in the UK.

The Infant and Dietetic Foods Association (IDFA), which represents babymilk manufacturers, is seeking to postpone introduction of the legislation and is applying for a judicial review.

The move came just two days before the legislation came into force on 11 January.

The new regulations, announced by the UK’s Department of Health and Food Standards Agency (FSA) in November, introduce stricter controls on labelling and advertising of all types of formulae, the stated aim being to ensure breastfeeding is not undermined by the marketing and promotion of such formulae.

The FSA says this legislation is intended to help parents and/or carers clearly differentiate between infant formula, which can be used for the first six months, and follow-on formula, which can only be used after the age of six months.

However, IDFA and some of its members are challenging the date by which baby milk companies need to comply with labelling requirements in the new legislation.

They say the labelling rules should not come into effect until end of 2009.

Gill Fine, director of consumer choice and dietary health at the FSA, commented: “We are extremely surprised that companies to whom we have been talking about these regulations for almost three years should decide at the last minute to apply for a judicial review.”

Notification of the date of hearing of the court proceedings is pending.

EU regulations

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