Date
15 December 2017
Activists allege that the Hong Kong government has taken a soft approach with regard to regulations on milk powder advertisements. Photo: Bloomberg
Activists allege that the Hong Kong government has taken a soft approach with regard to regulations on milk powder advertisements. Photo: Bloomberg

Govt under fire over regulatory lapses on milk powder ads

Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau has come in for criticism for allowing milk powder makers to get away with not disclosing the nutrient composition of their products in advertisements.

Although infant formula makers for children under three will be required to disclose nutrient composition and labeling on products, advertisements need not contain that information.

That has promoted concerned groups to accuse the government of yielding to milk powder makers, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

As the bureau is set to put the revised version of the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labeling) Regulations in the Government Gazette on Friday, the Hong Kong Breastfeeding Mothers’ Association has questioned the bureau’s exclusion of milk powder ads from the suggested regulations, it said.

Critics allege that the government is trying to avoid antagonizing milk powder makers, given the product shortages seen in the recent past.

According to the revised regulations, infant formula for children aged below one year should disclose energy value and 29 nutrients on the product container. For children between six months and three years, disclosure of energy value and 25 nutrients is required. As most milk powder products sold in the city contain Taurine and DHA, the bureau requires makers of infant formula to disclose the amount of such contents.

Miu Tang, president of the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Association, said it is disappointing that the bureau is not strengthening regulations on milk powder ads, which in many cases make consumers feel the products are more nutritious than breast milk.

The revised regulations are to be reviewed by the Legislative Council next Wednesday. A grace period of 18 months will be given for all infant formula product makers to abide by the new rules after they take effect.

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/AC/RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe