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Government launches code to protect breastfeeding and promote good marketing practices for formula milk products
     The Government today (June 13) launched the voluntary Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products and Food Products for Infants and Young Children (HK Code), which aims to protect breastfeeding and contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants and young children, based on adequate and unbiased information and through appropriate marketing.

     Drafted by the Taskforce on Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, which comprises representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), healthcare organisations and academia, the HK Code makes reference to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant recommendations of the World Health Organization (including the "Guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children" issued in 2016), as well as taking into account the latest local situation and views from various stakeholders collected during public consultation.

     The good marketing practices promoted by the HK Code are applicable to formula milk and related products as well as food products for infants and children below 36 months old. It provides guidance to relevant sectors including traders, healthcare workers and healthcare facilities, as well as childcare workers and childcare facilities that are involved in infant and young children's nutrition.

     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said, "The Government has all along endeavoured to protect, promote and support breastfeeding through a comprehensive strategy, and the HK Code is an integral part of the strategy.

     "We encourage manufacturers and distributors of the products concerned to make reference to the principles and objectives of the HK Code in formulating their marketing practices. We also appeal for the support of professional groups, institutions, NGOs and members of the public to work hand in hand to protect healthy infant and young child feeding practices from undue commercial influences. In this regard, the Department of Health will promote the HK Code through various channels as well as organise briefing sessions to explain to the trade the details of the HK Code."

     The spokesman added that the Government will continue with its efforts to promote breastfeeding as the norm for babycare and make it widely accepted by the community.

     "The Committee on Promotion of Breastfeeding was set up in 2014 to advise the Government on strategies and actions to promote and support breastfeeding, and to oversee all these activities to ensure that the implementation is co-ordinated, effective and sustainable.

     "To create a breastfeeding-friendly environment which will boost the rate and sustainability of breastfeeding, we have implemented a series of multi-faceted measures in phases. These include strengthening professional support for breastfeeding in healthcare facilities and public acceptance and support for breastfeeding, supporting working mothers to sustain breastfeeding by encouraging the community to adopt a breastfeeding-friendly workplace policy, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in public places through promotion of breastfeeding-friendly premises and provision of babycare facilities, as well as strengthening the surveillance on local breastfeeding," the spokesman said.

     The HK Code is available on the website: www.hkcode.gov.hk.
Ends/Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:00
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