Urgent Action Needed

Loblaw’s formula sales tactics put Canadian children and mothers at risk.

Loblaw is well aware of its obligations under the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. INFACT Canada has in the past informed Galen Weston, the President of the Company’s Board of Directors, that as a distributor of infant and young child feeding products that come under the scope of the International Code – infant formulae, bottles, teats and complementary foods – it should not directly advertise these products to pregnant women, new mothers or the general public.

President's Choice infant formula 'trial size' display

INFACT Canada is now receiving reports from parents that Loblaw is handing out formula packs with coupons that provide a full rebate for the purchase of the formula. Such marketing practices violate several articles of the Code relating to direct advertising and sales incentives.

Such practices are contrary to the health policies and recommendations of the World Health Organization, Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society. These policies state that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. At six months complementary foods can be introduced while breastfeeding continues to two years or beyond.

Moreover, the promotion and sales incentives for formula feeding put infants and young children at risk for serious health consequences that have lifelong impact. Formula feeding risks include increased episodes of gastrointestinal infections, respiratory disease and chronic diseases/conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancers, lower IQ and more neurological problems.

On their website Loblaw pledges as follows:

“Loblaw is on a journey to become the best retailer in Canada once again. We are four years into a renewal program that is transforming our business and our culture. Although challenged by economic circumstances and increasingly competitive forces, we are making good progress while upholding our core values and embedding a firm commitment to corporate social responsibility. Our goal is to meet the needs of today while preparing to address the social impacts facing Canada in the future.”

Let’s make Loblaw recognize it’s moral and social responsibilities to Canadian parents, mothers and children. Let them know that if they want a leadership role as a Canadian food retailer, they must comply with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and World Health Assembly Resolutions on infant and young child feeding. The health and wellbeing of Canadian mothers and children deserve the safeguards of the International Code and the critical health protection that breastfeeding provides.

Write Galen Weston and let him know that his pledge for corporate responsibility should not be empty words, and that meaningful measures are required to comply with the World Health International Code and World Health Assembly Resolutions to protect maternal and child health.

Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada

Write to:

Mr. Galen Weston
Chairman and President
George Weston Ltd.
22 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 1801
Toronto, Ontario
M4T 2S8

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