Food Law News - UK - 2008

FSA News Item, 29 February 2008

PARNUTS - Judicial review of infant formula regulations

In the High Court today a judge has ruled on a legal challenge brought by the Infant and Dietetic Foods Association (IDFA) against the Government regarding the implementation of new European legislation on infant and follow-on formula.

These new regulations came into force on 11 January, 2008. However, they were suspended in England and Wales following an application by IDFA for judicial review, challenging the date by which baby milk companies need to comply with new labelling requirements.

Following a two-day hearing, the Judge has ruled that the labelling aspects of the legislation should come into force on 1 January 2010, along with the new compositional rules. The judgement does not affect the rules relating to advertising of infant and follow-on formula, which apply immediately.

Therefore, manufacturers may continue to produce (and retailers may continue to sell) infant and follow-on formula bearing labels that comply with the previous legislation until 1 January 2010. After this time, they will have to ensure that products are labelled in accordance with the new labelling rules in the 2007 regulations.

The infant and follow-on formula legislation was announced by the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency in November. It is designed to introduce stricter controls on labelling and advertising of all types of formulae to ensure that breastfeeding is not undermined by the marketing and promotion of such products.

The regulations are to help parents and carers clearly tell the difference between infant formula, which can be used for the first six months (and beyond) and follow-on formula, which is only to be used after the age of six months.

In Scotland , a similar case against the Scottish Ministers was heard last week and a judgement is expected shortly. A third case, in Northern Ireland , has been adjourned until the completion of the case in England .

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