Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The trouble with growing-up milk

Since the Milk Code (EO 51) was passed in 1986, milk manufacturers have created milk products for older infants and children, presumably to avoid getting labeled as "breastmilk substitutes". Nowadays, there's milk for babies from 6 months onwards, from 1 year, 3 years, preschool-age, school-age, children who are hard to feed, etc. There's milk even for adults -- pregnant women, lactating women, diabetics and seniors! As pediatrician and breastfeeding advocate, Dr. Jack Newman, says, "We will all soon be on formula from birth to death."
The trouble with marketing these other milk products, albeit they are for children and not infants, is that they tend to create the notion in the public's mind that powdered milk is an ideal food for children. Mothers tend to go by brand names. Mothers in lower-income communities, especially, do not distinguish between powdered milk for infants, toddlers, children, etc. So when their budget gets too tight to buy infant formula, they easily switch to cheaper brands of powdered milk that are made for older children or even adults.

So marketing milk for older children seems to have the net effect of promoting powdered milk for young infants and babies as well. This image we scanned from a parenting magazine shows the promotional activities for Bonakid, a milk product supposedly for preschool-age kids. But look at the babies who are being brought to these events -- the photo clearly shows infants who should still be breastfeeding. Other photos on this spread show similar very young children and their parents participating in these events. This is a blatant violation of the Milk Code, which states that:

"Manufacturers and distributors shall not be permitted to give, directly or indirectly, samples and supplies of products within the scope of this Code or gifts of any sort to any member of the general public..." (Sec 6.b); and,

"Manufacturers and distributors shall not distribute to pregnant women or mothers of infants any gifts or articles or utensils which may promote the use of breastmilk substitutes or bottle feeding...." (Sec 6.d).

It's sad that those who have the power to ensure the strict implementation of the Milk Code do not see the trouble with "growing up" milk.
Photo: Scanned from "Mommy Academy Your Parenting Partner: Traditions Issue," p. 45.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Philippine Star quoted this post! Check it out at: