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The aim of Baby Feeding Law Group Ireland

Our primary aim is to protect the health of all babies in Ireland, by ending marketing practices which commercialise infant and young child feeding, threaten breastfeeding and undermine good health. We also aim to enable healthcare workers to encourage and protect breastfeeding

Our tag line is: Strengthening nutrition legislation for child health in Ireland

Our focus is the maintenance of breastfeeding as the biological norm and the protection of infants and young children fed with commercial products.

Objectives (including but not limited to the following)

To meet our aim, we will:

  • Encourage a strengthening of the Irish Government’s commitment to the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA Resolutions and related international agreements
  • Work towards the full implementation of the International Code and WHA resolutions into Irish and European legislation
  • Advocate for practices which ensure adherence to the Code and WHA resolutions within Irish health services, Government departments and organisations funded either partially or totally by the state or its agents.
  • Recommend health professional organisations to adopt WHO Code- compliant practices in their Professional Codes of Conduct or Ethics.
  • Liaise with relevant national and international organisations with a focus on the health and rights of children, women and parents
  • Monitor and encourage the public to monitor the baby food industry against internationally agreed marketing standards and to inform the BFLGI and legislative authorities of any breaches, perceived breaches and any marketing or sponsorship which undermines the spirit and intent of the WHO Code and subsequent resolutions.
  • Raise awareness of how the costs of marketing practices affect the cost of commercial infant and young child feeding products to Irish families
  • Publicise submissions and reports prepared by the BFLGI
  • Inform Government agencies, health professionals and the public of issues relating to the Code and WHA resolutions – Bring attention to the extent and consequences of the promotion of breastmilk substitutes and commercial infant and young child feeding products for the health and wellbeing of all children through on-going monitoring and reporting.
  • Maintain awareness of new products, such as those aimed at pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers, working to ensure that such products do not undermine the spirit and intent of WHO Code and subsequent resolutions

The Code

What is The Code?  

Link to BFLG-UK’s summary of The Code can be found here and a summary fact sheet published by the Irish Health Service Executive for healthcare professionals can be found here

Why does The Code exist? 

Link to BFLG-UK’s summary of why The Code exists can be found here

What to do if you observe a violation of Irish law or The Code

There are a number of authorities that regulate for upholding Irish legislation that relates to infant and young child nutrition. Please email for bflgireland@gmail.com so we can signpost you to the appropriate contacts. In some cases, a violation of The Code may not be legislated for, however BFLGI maintain a watching brief on such issues and these queries can also be submitted via email.

News & Events

 Public Consultation Submissions

  • European Food Safety Authority Public Consultation on the appropriate age for the introduction of complementary feeding into an infant’s diet
  • Department of Health Climate Change Adaption Plan Public Consultation
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Public consultation: BFLGI made a submission to agree with the Addition of Exclusive Breastfeeding to 6 months as an indicator for SDG No. 2: Zero Hunger

Statements

 

 

Irish Laws

Legislation Regarding Infant Formulae and Follow-on Formulae:

Additional information about EU and Irish legislation relating to infant formulae and follow-on formulae can be found on this page on the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website.

Summary of Legislation

In general, the legislation:

  • Defines “infant formula” as “foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional use by infants during the first months of life and satisfying by themselves the nutritional requirements of such infants until the introduction of appropriate complementary feeding”
  • Defines “follow-on formula” as “foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional use by infants when appropriate complementary feeding is introduced and constituting the principal liquid element in a progressively diversified diet of such infants”
  • Prescribes the protein sources for the manufacturers of formulae and sets out the compositional criteria of both infant formula and follow-on formula
  • Describes levels of pesticide residues allowed in infant formula

Specific to the labelling of products, the legislation states that infant formulae and follow-on formulae must:

  • Be labelled so that a clear distinction can be made between infant formulae and follow-on formulae
  • State target audience and the conditions under which the product is appropriate, without discouraging breastfeeding
    • g. for follow-on formulae, the label must state that “the product is suitable only for particular nutritional use by infants over the age of six months, that it should form only part of a diversified diet, that it is not to be used as a substitute for breast milk during the first six months of life”
    • The use of terms “humanised,” “maternalised,” “adapted,” or similar are prohibited
  • Include the nutritional composition of the product in terms of macronutrients and micronutrients per 100ml of the product ready for use
  • Include instructions for preparation, storage and disposal, and include a warning about health hazards of inappropriate preparation and storage
  • Contain a statement containing the superiority of breastfeeding
  • Not include pictures of infants, or any other pictures or text that idealises the product

Irish legislation also describes the type of advertising of infant formulae and follow-on formulae that is allowed; the legislation states that:

  • Advertising of infant formulae is only allowed in publications specialising in special baby care and scientific publications, and these should only contain scientific and factual information
  • Point-of-sale advertising, free samples, promotional devices to induce sales of infant formula directly to the consumer at retail level (e.g. special displays, coupons) are prohibited
  • Manufacturers of infant formula cannot provide free or low-priced products, samples or promotional gifts to the general public, pregnant women, mothers or members of their families

Breastfeeding Protection Laws:  

The Equal Status Act (2000) ensures protection for mothers to breastfeed in public places without discrimination. Further details can be found on the Citizens Information website here.

Maternity Protection Laws:  

The Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 supports mothers who are breastfeeding for return to employment in the first 6 months (time off, reduction in hours).

Under this act expectant fathers have a once-off right to paid time off work to attend the last two antenatal classes prior to the birth of the child.

 

About Us

Who we are

BFLGI is an alliance of organisations and individuals working together to protect infant, young child and maternal health by ending marketing practices that commercialise infant feeding, mislead consumers and threaten breastfeeding. We also promote awareness of Irish laws that currently exist and provide signposting to protections available. Though our primary aim is to protect breastfeeding, we do not seek to limit the accessibility of safe and appropriate infant formulae for those who need or want them. Rather, we want to enable parents to make informed decisions about how they feed their babies.

BFLGI is a part of a network including BFLG UK and is a member of the International Baby Food Action Network.

BFLGI are a member of the Coalition 2030 alliance, who are working towards upholding Ireland’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both in Ireland and internationally by 2030.

BFLGI is a voluntary organisation.

What we do

BFLGI advocates for organisations, government and policy-makers to implement and enforce marketing laws that protect infant and young child feeding in order to strengthen these laws in line with The Code. We also seek to provide information and training to organisations to promote awareness and understanding of The Code. In addition, and to aid our advocacy, we support monitoring of violations of Irish laws as well as items within The Code that are not yet covered under Irish or EU Regulations. We provide signposting for organisations and individuals on how to report violations such matters to the relevant authorities in Ireland.

BFLGI participates in public consultations at Irish, European and Global levels to provide representation for the full scope of The Code, as well as on other matters that support, protect and promote breastfeeding.

Our Members

  • AIMS Ireland
  • An Taisce
  • Association of Lactation Consultants of Ireland
  • Cuidiú
  • Friends of Breastfeeding
  • Institute of Community Health Nursing of Ireland
  • Irish Forum for Global Health
  • La Leche League Ireland
  • Midwives Association of Ireland
  • Individual members from supporting academic disciplines including, but not limited to, medicine, nursing, dietetics and public health

If you wish to register for membership please email bflgireland@gmail.com for details.

Home

The aim of Baby Feeding Law Group Ireland

Our primary aim is to protect the health of all babies in Ireland, by ending marketing practices which commercialise infant and young child feeding, threaten breastfeeding and undermine good health. We also aim to enable healthcare workers to encourage and protect breastfeeding

Our tag line is: Strengthening nutrition legislation for child health in Ireland

Our focus is the maintenance of breastfeeding as the biological norm and the protection of infants and young children fed with commercial products.

Objectives (including but not limited to the following)

To meet our aim, we will:

  • Encourage a strengthening of the Irish Government’s commitment to the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA Resolutions and related international agreements
  • Work towards the full implementation of the International Code and WHA resolutions into Irish and European legislation
  • Advocate for practices which ensure adherence to the Code and WHA resolutions within Irish health services, Government departments and organisations funded either partially or totally by the state or its agents.
  • Recommend health professional organisations to adopt WHO Code- compliant practices in their Professional Codes of Conduct or Ethics.
  • Liaise with relevant national and international organisations with a focus on the health and rights of children, women and parents
  • Monitor and encourage the public to monitor the baby food industry against internationally agreed marketing standards and to inform the BFLGI and legislative authorities of any breaches, perceived breaches and any marketing or sponsorship which undermines the spirit and intent of the WHO Code and subsequent resolutions.
  • Raise awareness of how the costs of marketing practices affect the cost of commercial infant and young child feeding products to Irish families
  • Publicise submissions and reports prepared by the BFLGI
  • Inform Government agencies, health professionals and the public of issues relating to the Code and WHA resolutions – Bring attention to the extent and consequences of the promotion of breastmilk substitutes and commercial infant and young child feeding products for the health and wellbeing of all children through on-going monitoring and reporting.
  • Maintain awareness of new products, such as those aimed at pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers, working to ensure that such products do not undermine the spirit and intent of WHO Code and subsequent resolutions