The National Development and Reform Commission and six other ministries and departments have released an action plan which aims to standardize advertising in the domestic infant formula industry. The plan stresses that it will crackdown on false advertising, including claims that infant formula is better than breast milk, and there will be no advertising allowed for formula for infants under the age of one through any channel, whether mass media, TV or online, The Beijing News reported.
China's most recent Advertisement Law, effective since September 1, 2015, stipulates that media outlets or other public places are prohibited from claiming in ads that that infant formula can replace breast milk, Dr. Luo Zhihua wrote in The Beijing News.
Luo said there is no doubt that infant formula can be of great benefit for infants if it is used responsibly. Yet, not all infants need formula.
In reality, many advertisements falsely exaggerate the function of infant formula. Young mothers who want to keep fit or lose their baby weight are reluctant to breast feed, and much advertising of formula plays into this with claims that it is as nutritious as breast milk.
Luo warned that apart from advertising and promotional activities, authorities should also pay attention to other ways that formula is promoted to new parents, even though it is not sold so much in hospitals these days. This includes giving out free samples and through telemarketing.