Commission proposals to be scrutinised by European Parliament

Commission proposals to be scrutinised by European Parliament

EU member states could allow baby care and scientific publications to carry advertisements for infant formula, under new rules that will be reviewed by the European Parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee.

The regulations, issued by the European Commission using delegated powers, do however allow EU governments to ban or restrict the ads if they choose for products sold to babies up to six months old.

The advertising, said the legal text, "shall contain only information of a scientific and factual nature. Such information shall not imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is equivalent or superior to breast feeding."

The Commission has banned point-of-sale advertising of infant formula, and the distributing of samples to consumers, along with special displays, discount coupons, premiums, special sales, loss-leaders and tie-in sales. Brussels has also released new rules on marketing follow-up formulas, saying these must be sold with statements saying these are only suitable for infants older than six months, unless a health professional advises feeding them to younger babies.