Health Minister McLellan supports 54th WHA Resolution on exclusive breastfeeding



    INFACT Canada has finally received a response from Health Minister Anne McLellan to our request that the policy statement Nutrition for Healthly Term Infants be revised. In November 2001 we wrote the then Minister Allan Rock requesting that the document be updated to be consistent with the 54th World Health Assembly Resolution supporting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.


    After seven months, we were pleased to receive news that Canada supports the Resolution for the recommended age of exclusive breastfeeding.


     The Minister responded as follows:


     As you are aware, the Government of Canada supports the 54th World Health Assembly Resolution that calls for a global standard for infants to be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Health Canada recognizes that a review of its policies related to breastfeeding in Canada, as set out in the joint statement, Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants (1998), is required in light of the Resolution. The Department has therefore initiated discussions on the review process with its partners, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and the Dietitians of Canada, in the development of this joint statement.


     Additionally we called for the elimination of those with conflicts of interest from setting Canada’s policies on infant and young child nutrition. The current Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants (1998) was authored by two infant nutrition “specialists” linked to the infant foods industries. The Minister did not address the conflict of interest issues in her letter.


     We responded by noting the encouraging content of her letter, but  disappointed that her letter failed to:   …address the fundamental concern of conflict of interest among those parties who are directly involved in developing public policy on the issues of infant feeding…


     More to follow…



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