Step 1

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Step 2

Tailor our draft email below. Include your address – so they know you are an important constituent.


I am a constituent of yours and I am writing to you seeking your support with an issue that is of great importance to me. I would like to make you aware of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the adoption of the WHO Code of Marketing on Breast-milk Substitutes, which occurs on Friday 21st May 2021.

The WHO Code aims to ensure the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for all infants. It does this by seeking to ensure the availability of impartial and adequate information about breastmilk substitutes through the regulation of the marketing and promotion of these products. These measures benefit all infants, irrespective of the way they are fed, by protecting consumers from predatory marketing practices and unverified claims related to infant nutrition products. The health of Irish infants is too important to be left to usual rules governing markets  and advertising.

Ireland has adopted certain aspects of the WHO Code, primarily through the adoption of the European Communities (Infant Formulae and Follow-on Formulae) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 852 of 2007). The HSE has also shown its commitment to the implementation of the Code through the National Infant Feeding Policy for Primary Care Teams and Community Health Organisations 2019 and Action Item 3.12 of The Breastfeeding in a Health Ireland: Health Service Breastfeeding action Plan 2016-2021. It states as its desired outcome that the Code will by 2021 be policy for all government departments, the HSE, and contracted agencies. In furtherance of that aim, it is expected that a new HSE Policy on the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes will be announced in the coming months, which will prohibit the sponsorship of educational and informational events and materials for health care providers by formula companies. Friends of Breastfeeding welcomes this policy which is another step towards full implementation of the Code here.

I would ask you to please raise the following Private Members’ Questions in the Dáil, related to the next steps required to ensure Ireland’s complete adoption of the entire WHO Code and thereby to ensure maximum protection for our infants:

  1. Would the Taoiseach please provide an update on Ireland’s progress on implementing via legislation the WHO Code of Marketing on Breast-milk Substitutes, and comment on the reasons there has been no progress made in this regard since 2013? And would the Taoiseach please comment on the reasons for the delay in adopting into domestic law the provisions of the WHO Code in its entirety?
  2. Would Minister Donnelly please provide a status update on the implementation of Action Item 3.13 of the National Breastfeeding Action Plan which pertains to the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes?
  3. Would Minister Foley please run an audit on all school textbooks to ensure inclusivity and visibility of breastfeeding families from preschool onwards, and would the Minister comment on how she will carry this out?
  4. Will Minister Martin please request a department review of the Broadcast Authority of Ireland Code that pertains to infant formula products, and ensure that it is updated to be in line with WHO recommendations including those of the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes including all of its subsequent resolutions; most notably in that commercial advertisements of all milks targeted at young children should not be permitted on TV or radio, and will the Minister please comment on how the department intends to bring the BAI Code in line with the WHO Code in this regard and how this will be implemented?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Sincerely

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