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.