Stricter rules on advertising, labelling of infant formula milk

Abbott's Similac Gain has come under scrutiny here for its labelling. The "IQ" in its Gain IQ range stands for intestinal quality.
Abbott's Similac Gain has come under scrutiny here for its labelling. The "IQ" in its Gain IQ range stands for intestinal quality.

The use of nutritional and health claims and idealised images for infant formula milk will be prohibited under tightened food regulations by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

The Health Promotion Board's Sale of Infant Food Ethics Committee Singapore is also reviewing its code of ethics to extend restrictions on the advertising, marketing and promotion of infant formula to milk powder for infants below six months to up to 12 months of age.

In response to queries, FrieslandCampina, Nestle, Abbott and Dumex said they are committed to abiding by the new guidelines. Mead Johnson Nutrition did not respond to queries.

At least one brand has come under scrutiny here for its labelling - Abbott's Similac Gain range, the most popular brand of milk formula here.

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The "IQ" in its Gain IQ range stands for intestinal quality, though it is accompanied by an image of a bear wearing a graduation cap and the words "Intelli-Pro", which could be misleading, said Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) president Lim Biow Chuan.

 
 

Case had asked the AVA about this but received a less than satisfactory response, said Mr Lim, who added that the consumer watchdog will review advertisements by the companies and take action if necessary.

In response to queries, a spokesman for Abbott said: "It is stated on the front label that IQ stands for 'Intestinal Quality'. Abbott adheres to all applicable codes, regulations and laws regarding the marketing of formula milk in the countries where we do business."

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2017, with the headline 'Stricter rules on advertising and labelling of milk powder'. Print Edition | Subscribe