Formula milk and follow-on milk advertising may face ban under changes to the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill
Infant formula and follow-on formula advertising may now be restricted following a government amendment put forward by Minister Catherine Martin today.
The change to the proposed legislation would allow the new Media Commission to prohibit advertising relating to formula milk and follow-on milk based on concerns about the health impact on children.
This comes following work between Green Party colleagues Minister Martin and Senator Pauline O’Reilly.
Commenting on the amendment, Senator O’Reilly said;
“Formula milk advertising targets those who are seeking help with breastfeeding. Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. That is no accident. Formula milk is big business and Ireland is one of the largest exporters of dairy for formula milk. We must do all we can to ensure that those who want to breastfeed are supported and not the target of these money-making companies.
“Having spoken about this on various media over the past year, and having brought this issue up with Minister Catherine Martin, who has a strong track record for advocating for the same, I am delighted that she, on behalf of government has today inserted amendments to the Online Safety Bill to include the restriction of infant formula and follow-on formula.
“How women choose to feed their babies is a matter for themselves. They need unbiased support. Breastfeeding makes no company money and therefore it cannot currently compete for attention through advertising. These advertising restrictions must go hand in hand with the additional funding that has been put into providing more lactation consultants and support for breastfeeding support groups.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, tabled a number of Government amendments to the Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Bill during the Seanad Report Stage consideration of the Bill this afternoon, to address a range of issues raised by Senators during Seanad Committee Stage, which concluded on 31 May 2022.
Formula milk is big business and Ireland is one of the largest exporters of dairy for formula milk. We must do all we can to ensure that those who want to breastfeed are supported and not the target of these money-making companies.