healthcare

Move to regulate marketing of baby foods

November 9, 2020

MUSCAT, NOV 8 – The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion has completed the preparation of the draft of an Omani standard specification for ‘Regulating the Marketing of Classified Products for Infants and Young Children’.
The draft of the Omani standard specification was prepared under the plans of the Department of Standards of the ministry’s Directorate General of Standards and Metrology, in cooperation with the Nutrition Department of the Ministry of Health.
The aim is to regulate the marketing of classified products meant for infants and young children, in line with the national policy in support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding.
The Ministry pointed out that the standard specifications were concerned with general requirements regulating the marketing of products classified for infants and young children.
The draft identified and defined products classified as food alternative to breast milk or food supplements, or any other food products marketed as suitable for children up to the age of three years, and the tools used in feeding the infant until the age of 12 months.
It also talks about the food product and the tools used in feeding the infant, such as pacifiers and soft nipples for the infant feeding bottle.
Nawal bint Suwaid al Abri, Head of the Food and Agricultural Products Specifications Department at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, said the Omani standard specifications’ draft has the definition of both: manufactured substitutes for breast milk and manufactured substitutes for breast milk with special medicinal uses as well as food supplements which include their preparations, food for the growth stage, and processed foods based on grains.
The Omani standard specifications draft also included the definitions for the following terms: infant, grown-up infants, young children, information card, marketing and distributor, promotion, advertising, and tools used in infant and young child feeding.
“The Omani standard specifications draft has determined general requirements for classified products, including the classified products and raw materials used in the manufacture of the classified products should conform to their own standard specifications, and that the classified products are produced, packed and traded in accordance with the conditions and requirements mentioned in the specifications.
The classified products must be free from pig products and their derivatives, in addition to be free from rancidity, impurities and external materials, and from insects and their parts and all their types. There are also microbiological limits, those of the toxic metal elements, radioactive contaminants and mycotoxins in accordance with their own standard specifications and others,” she said.

The Omani standard specifications draft prohibits classified products: exceeding international limits for chemical pollutants harmful to health, and writing any medical, therapeutic or preventive statement on classified products except after obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Health, provided that there is scientific evidence for this. It also talks about placing pictures of infants or mothers or any other pictures or phrases which praise the use of the classified product.
The use of supplements for infant food up to the age of six months, use of artificial flavourings for those less than a year, adding sweeteners, using phrases praising the product which suggest similarity to breast milk, and writing any medical, therapeutic or preventive statement on the classified products is prohibited, except after obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Health, provided that this is scientifically proven.

omanobserver

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