Four days ago the news reported that China is considering putting a ban on formula companies and how they advertise. They are thinking of banning all advertisements for formula marketed to babies 6 months and under. There is a lot of research that states that mothers are highly influenced by such advertisements, including the hospital bags given upon discharge, thus discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding. China has reported an increase on sales of stage 1 powdered formula from 5.68 billion in 2006 to 14.4 billion in 2010. That's a massive climb and the pharmaceutical companies are taking full advantage.
The European Union has had a ban on formula advertisements marketed to infants under the age of one since 1995. Since then the National Childbirth Trust of England and UNICEF have seen a rise in advertisements of follow-on formula (formula for after 1 year of age). Formula companies have since changed the packaging of follow-on formula to look similar to that of stage 1 and 2 formula thus preying on mothers and infants as 60% of new mothers report seeing formula advertisements in the past year. What is also alarming is that mother's are getting confused with the differences in the formula and feeding follow-on formula, which has a higher mineral content, at too young of age. The NCT and UNICEF are now working towards banning all formula advertisements throughout the EU.
In 1994, the United States signed onto the code, but I believe we are still seeing inappropriate advertising and unfortunately, the code is not legally binding. Now, I know that many of you have seen formula advertised here in the US and elsewhere, can you tell me that the advertisements follow the code? A television commercial would have to be at least five minutes long to cover just some of the information required above. Appalling if you ask me.
Here lies room for massive reformation and revolution. Get on board.