Infant Foods: Advertising

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 2nd February 2023.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of regulations on follow-on formula milk advertising in the UK.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for regulating advertising across traditional forms of media (print, radio, TV) through its Broadcast (BCAP) and online advertising through its Non-broadcast (CAP) Codes. Overall responsibility for enforcement of the legislation governing follow-on formula beyond ASA’s advertising remit rests with Local Authorities in England.

In line with statutory restrictions, infant formula advertising is prohibited. Follow-on formula may be legitimately advertised but adverts must comply with the general provisions of the Code, which ensure advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful.

The ASA’s rules on formula advertising are backstopped by Trading Standards. This means that the ASA can refer cases if necessary for Trading Standards to take a view on whether there are breaches of the law and apply tougher sanctions as appropriate.

The Government therefore believes that existing rules related to the advertising of follow-on formula are sufficient.

In addition, through the Online Advertising Programme, the Government is examining the regulatory model for online advertising to ensure it protects consumers and minimises harm. The consultation closed last year, and we will be publishing a Government response in due course.

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