Urgent action

Urge Health Canada to protect breastfeeding and ban nutrition and health claims for infant formula and complementary foods for infants and young children

Dear INFACT Supporter,

INFACT Canada is asking you to contact the following:

With copies to the Health Critics:

Please also send copies to INFACT Canada: esterken@infactcanada.ca

We are asking you to demand that Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Industry Canada enforce Canada’s legislation that prohibits nutrition and health claims for infant formula and foods for infants and young children and enforce consumer protection from deceptive labeling.

Stop putting our children at risk

Canada’s infant and young child nutrition policy recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months of life and continue breastfeeding to two years while gradually adding high nutrient and energy dense complementary foods.

When infants are not optimally breastfed they are at risk for increased illness such as higher rates of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, allergies, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and even death. The risks of not breastfeeding are even greater for vulnerable populations such as First Nations peoples.

Why is Canada not implementing measures to support mothers to breastfeed?

The World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes endorsed by Canada in 1981 and the subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions relating to infant and young child feeding require governments to give meaningful implementation to the protection of breastfeeding by banning all forms of direct advertising of breastmilk substitutes and related infant and young child feeding products. This includes prohibiting nutrition and health claims that are designed to project artificial feeding products as similar to breastmilk.

Claims are deceptive and misleading

Nutrition and health claims for infant formulas are misleading and deceptive. It is impossible to replicate the biological complexity of human milk. The manufacturers of infant formula are lying when they claim that chemical additives derived from non-human sources can have similar biological effects as those in human milk. The rigorous scientific substantiation that is required to validate nutrition claims is seriously lacking

Claims made by the manufacturers of infant formula on labels and in their advertisements are marketing tools to glamourize these products. In actual fact these artificial feeding products contribute to our health burdens, contribute to environmental damage, contribute to our national health costs and contribute to the coffers of an industry obsessed with prioritizing profit over the health of children and mothers.

Urge Health Canada to stop the lies; to implement measures to stop the promotion of artificial feeding products; and to put an end to the undermining of breastfeeding in Canada.

Thanks for your support.

Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada