Claims and marketing
Only the claims referred to in Decree 1216/2007 of the Ministry of Trade and Industry may be made on infant formulae.
On follow on formulae, the claims aimed at children that are authorised pursuant to the Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation (1924/2009)may be made, provided that
- only claims authorised pursuant to the Claim Regulation are used
- the information that is mandatory when claims are used is presented with authorised claims.
The food business operator is responsible for the claim used in the marketing material produced by the operator. It is important to bear in mind that claims presented e.g. online or in other marketing material may not be contradictory to the information provided in the labelling.
Advertising of infant formulae shall be restricted to publications specialising in baby care and targeted at professionals, and scientific publications. Infant formulae may not be advertised in e.g. normal newspapers or magazines or on television. Presenting information other than labelling information is considered advertising of the infant formula which is only permissible in publications targeted at health care professionals.
Advertising targeted at professionals may contain only information of a scientific and factual nature. Brochures or advertisements may not imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is equivalent or superior to breast feeding.
The labelling, presentation and advertising of infant formulae and follow on formulae shall be designed so as not to encourage discontinuation of breast feeding. They may not use any pictures of infants or any other pictures of text which may idealise the use of formulae. The use of the terms "humanised", "maternalised", "adapted", or similar terms is prohibited.
There shall be no point-of-sale advertising or any other promotional device to induce sales of infant formulae directly to the consumer at the retail level, such as special offers or discounts. These are prohibited also in online marketing and other forms of distance selling. Evira is of the view that infant formulae may not, for example, be presented as the front page products of an online store or in lists of best-selling or most-viewed products.
Separating consumer and professional online communication on infant formulae
Adequate price and labelling information may and must be provided on infant formulae that is offered for sale, also online. This as such is not considered to be advertising. Only health care professionals may be provided with more information about infant formulae.
The food business operator shall ensure that the information materials only intended for health care professionals are not distributed outside the target group concerned. The operator shall make registration compulsory for persons wishing to visit a website intended for health care professionals, or in some other comparable manner ensure that the information provided on the website can only be accessed by health care professionals.
The common practice followed at present is to ask visitors to a website intended for health care professionals to verify that they are health care professionals (yes-no). The website can be accessed by replying "yes". In Evira's opinion, this practice that allows everybody to access the site by replying the question with "yes" is not adequate.