Pakistani authorities ban infant formula marketing in hospitals

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

The PFA has banned all marketing and free samples of infant formula in Pakistani hospitals. ©iStock
The PFA has banned all marketing and free samples of infant formula in Pakistani hospitals. ©iStock

Related tags Infant formula Breastfeeding Milk

The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has issued a blanket ban on marketing and free sampling of infant formula in hospitals in Pakistan, following a meeting with Formula Milk Association office bearers on 26 September.

The meeting took place at the PFA headquarters and was chaired by PFA director-general Noorul Amin Mengal, who told media, “Nutrition of children is our first priority because they are (the) future of Pakistan. We will not let any company play with the future of our generations.”

Stricter rules for imports

He added: “(The) PFA hopes that multinational companies will meet the intentional standards and follow rules and regulations.”

The PFA will decide upon infant formula standards and ingredients to be approved by its Scientific Panel. Mengal also instructed manufacturers to include Urdu labelling on all imported products.

Government action

This development comes after the Punjab government had told the PFA earlier this month to impose what it considered necessary rules and regulations for the manufacturing, labelling and sale of infant formula.

The health department’s Breast Feeding Protection Unit of the Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition Programme (IRMNCH) had met with Mengal to discuss the existing regulations.

Marketing restrictions

Mengal assured the IRMNCH that the PFA would have manufacturers remove the tagline “Infant formula is (an) alternative to breast milk”​ from their product packaging and instead, include the following disclaimer on all their products: “Formula milk is not a substitute for mother’s milk.”

The PFA and the IRMNCH also agreed that marketing of infant formula would be banned within and around hospitals.

Content control

According to a PFA spokesman, the officials concluded during the meeting that the in every 100g of infant formula, there should be a minimum of 1.8g of protein and a maximum of 3.8g.

At the same time, they agreed that artificial ingredients in infant formula should be minimised and manufacturers should be closely monitored to ensure they comply with any new regulation to be introduced.

NutraIngredients-Asia​ also contacted the Asia Pacific Infant and Young Child Nutrition Association (APIYCNA) for comment, but neither the association nor its members were able to comment at the time of publication.

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