INCA’s Comments Surrounding the 2018 WHA Resolution
Media coverage around a May 2018 World Health Assembly Resolution on Infant and Young Child Feeding turned a public health issue about access to information and nutrition education for parents of children up to three years of age into a political debate about breastfeeding vs formula feeding.
The Infant Nutrition Council of America and its members have always shared the goal of supporting and promoting the benefits of breastfeeding. However, many parents cannot or choose not to breastfeed and need education on appropriate alternatives. Parents have the right to access accurate information on appropriate and safe feeding options in order to make informed nutrition decisions for their infants. In addition, some of the World Health Assembly resolution’s draft language was very broad and would have imposed severe restrictions on all milk products for older infants and young children up to three years old, as well as limited consumers’ access to information.
The resolution that was unanimously adopted by the World Health Assembly, and supported by the U.S. government, clearly stated its aim to support, protect and promote breastfeeding and good nutrition for infants and young children based on effective, evidenced-based interventions, included the need for education and reaffirmed the role of appropriate complementary foods. The final resolution is in line with the INCA position.
“Reducing the debate about the World Health Assembly resolution to ‘breastfeeding vs. formula feeding’ is misleading as both the draft and final Resolutions were supportive of breastfeeding,” said Mardi Mountford, President of The Infant Nutrition Council of America. “This is about education above all else. Mothers should be encouraged and supported to breastfeed; however — if breast milk is not available or not chosen — parents should have access to information from trusted sources. Infant formula is the only safe, nutritious feeding option for babies who cannot or do not receive breast milk.”
The Infant Nutrition Council of America has supported this non-partisan position since 2016, working with both the Obama and Trump administrations. The Food and Drug Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and other leading health professional organizations recognize that infant formula is the safest, most nutritious, and only recommended feeding option for babies who do not receive breast milk. Infant formula is the most highly regulated food and the only recommended nourishment if breast milk is not available. Millions of infants have safely consumed formula for decades.
About The Infant Nutrition Council of America
The Infant Nutrition Council of America is an association of manufacturers of infant formulas, follow-up formulas or growing up milks; members are Abbott Nutrition, Gerber Products Company, Perrigo Nutritionals and Reckitt Benckiser. For more than 45 years the Council has advocated optimal infant health and the critical role of infant nutrition, supported families in their feeding decisions and educating on appropriate infant feeding options.
During the first year of life an infant is exposed to many foods and eating experiences that lay the foundation for lifelong nutritional habits. While the Infant Nutrition Council of America and its members share the goal of supporting breastfeeding whenever possible, for infants not receiving breast milk, infant formula is the only safe and recommended nourishment that promotes healthy growth and development based on current nutrition science. The Infant Nutrition Council of America recognizes their special obligation to provide products that are both safe and nutritious, and which can be used with utmost confidence.
Every day, parents make the important and personal decision about how to feed their infant– a decision rooted in individual beliefs, circumstances and experiences. Whether a parent decides to breastfeed exclusively, formula feed, or use a combination of both, The Infant Nutrition Council of America believes they should have access to facts and balanced information about infant feeding options and be supported in their decision.
INFANT NUTRITION COUNCIL OF AMERICA MEDIA CONTACTS:
Robin Applebaum: 678-303-2980/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan Dukes: 678-303-2993 / email@example.com