Baby Food Product a Multi Billion Industry

By: Aarti Dhar | 719 hits


In an uncommon development, The Indian Journal of Pediatrics, published from New Delhi has issued an apology for publishing an advertisement of "LF100" an infant milk substitute manufactured and marketed by British Biological Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, in its’ February 2016 issue. The British Biological Pvt Ltd has also issued an apology for violating the Infant Milk Substitutes, feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 which prohibits all kinds of promotion for 0-2 year of baby foods and feeding bottles, including advertisements, pecuniary benefits to doctors or their associations including sponsorship as well as commission to salesperson and also prescribes labeling requirements.

The apology follows a legal notice to the two publishers and the British Biological Pvt Ltd by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), a designated gazetted organization by Government to monitor the IMS Act, which took a suo moto note of publication of this advertisement. The advertisement was analysed by the BPNI team and the legal advisor of BPNI, who concluded that it is a violation of several provisions of the IMS Act. BPNI served a legal notice through its’ legal advisor to infant formula manufacturer British Biologicals Pvt. Ltd. and Indian Journal of Paediatrics, on 28th March 2016 for violation of the IMS Act.

In response to legal notice, on 1st of April 2016, BPNI received an email communication from Mr. Rajiv Dhir, Marketing Head of Indian Journal of Pediatrics stating that they have blocked further circulation of their February issue, which contained the advertisement of “LF100” with immediate effect and also withdrawn contract with British Biologicals Pvt. Ltd. for publication of said advertisement. British Life Science Pvt Ltd apologized through a communication from Mr. S. Mahendra Boopathy, Assistant manager of the company accepting the mistake committed by the company and informing that the stated advertisement has been withdrawn from publication in the future issues of Indian Journal of Pediatrics. He also assured that such violations would not happen henceforth.

The baby milk formula industry is a growing. Unlike other commodities, baby milk formula seems to be resilient to market downturns. In 2014, global sales of all baby milk formula were about US$44·8 billion—by 2019, the market value is projected to reach $70·6 billion. In 2009, when the growth of real gross domestic product turned negative globally, baby milk formula sales still grew by 8% annually in constant value terms. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the best food for a child and with food supplement for the next two years helps babies grow healthy. In low-income and middle-income countries, only 37% of children younger than 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed. With a few exceptions, breastfeeding duration is shorter in high-income countries than in those that are resource-poor, according to a recent Lancet Breastfeeding series. Our meta-analyses indicate protection against child infections and malocclusion, increases in intelligence, and probable reductions in overweight and diabetes. For nursing women, breastfeeding gave protection against breast cancer and it improved birth spacing, and it might also protect against ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes. The scaling up of breastfeeding to a near universal level could prevent 823 000 annual deaths in children younger than 5 years and 20 000 annual deaths from breast cancer. Recent epidemiological and biological findings from during the past decade expand on the known benefits of breastfeeding for women and children, whether they are rich or poor, the Lancet said.

Globally, the prevalence of breastfeeding at 12 months is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and parts of Latin America. In most high-income countries, the prevalence is lower than 20%.In the UK the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding is less than 1% and the USA (27%), and between Norway (35%) and Sweden (16%). It is higher in some countries like Malawi (71%) and Bangladesh (64%) with the global average being 50 per cent. The World Health Organisation has now set a target of achieving at least 50% exclusive breastfeeding for six months by 2025. In many traditional societies, colostrums is thought to be harmful and may be discarded, while pre-lacteal feeds may delay breastfeeding initiations were effective at improving early initiation, as well as exclusive, continued and any breastfeeding.

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