The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) supports New Zealand Associate Minister for Health, Tariana Turia’s call for a full investigation by authorities into the marketing and production of Heitiki Infant Formula.
“In particular, we are concerned about Heitiki’s disregard for the marketing Codes in New Zealand and the manner in which the Heitiki brand is promoted on both its website and in a recent advertisement in the Herald on Sunday,” said Jan Carey, CEO, INC.
The advertisement is not in accordance to the INC Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula, which restricts advertising infant formula directly to the public and supports the need to clearly communicate the superiority of breastfeeding for infants and the unique and unsurpassed benefits of breast milk.
“The infant formula industry in New Zealand has worked hard to ensure that its marketing practices, through the INC’s voluntary Code of Practice by which all INC member companies adhere to, are ethical to ensure that the important role of breastfeeding is not undermined,” said Ms Carey.
This Code is part of New Zealand's response to the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO 1981) (WHO Code) which prescribes how information about infant formula can be marketed.
Heitiki is not a member of the INC whose members include Bayer, Dairy Goat Cooperative, Fonterra, Heinz, Murray Goulburn Co-operative Nestle, Nutricia and Pfizer.
The INC represents the interests of the infant formula industry in Australia and New Zealand and advocates optimal nutrition for all infants. The INC’s objective is to improve infant nutrition by ensuring the quality and safety of infant formula and by supporting the public health goals for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding.
“It is important that all companies marketing infant formula act responsibly and comply with the regulatory regime which is aimed at protecting New Zealand’s reputation internationally,” concluded Ms Carey.