On 28 May 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) discussed a Draft Guidance document entitled “Ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children” at the Sixty-ninth session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). International Special Food Dietary Industries (ISDI) believe this guidance is a missed opportunity to appropriately address public health issues for infants and young children, women and families.

The resolution calls for a review of national experiences with implementing the guidance recommendations, in order to build a body of evidence on their effectiveness and consider changes to the WHO guidance on this basis, if required. In this respect, we propose that WHO member countries considering implementation of the WHO Guidance conduct an impact assessment domestically to determine if the proposed recommendations would achieve the stated goals. The impact assessment should include all stakeholders, including industry, in an open, consultative process.

It is important to note that countries have an obligation to remain consistent with Codex Alimentarius international standards and all other international obligations. It is also essential that nations recognize and support the importance and promotion of dairy products in the diets of young children to ensure optimal nutrition and well-being.
Countries also have an obligation to protect consumer rights by allowing parents to have access to science-based nutrition and product information to ensure informed decision making. Our industry is dedicated to improving infant and child nutrition around the world, and we believe strongly that parents and health care providers are better able to make nutrition decisions for their children with more information, not less.

We will engage with and support countries and the WHO to contribute toward the achievement of our common goal – safeguarding the health of infants and young children worldwide.

Useful links and resources:

http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA69/A69_ACONF7Rev1-en.pdf  – Draft Resolution, Guidance on ending inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children, 28 May 2016

http://www.isdi.org/uploads/content/isdiletteronwhoguidancefinal.pdf – ISDI Letter on WHO Guidance, 2 May 2016