Page last updated at 01:33 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 02:33 UK

Follow-on milk ads 'misleading'

Baby drinking from a bottle
Follow-on milk has been a controversial subject

A baby milk company has been criticised by the advertising watchdog for making misleading claims.

Nutricia, which trades as both Cow and Gate and Milupa, was told to remove adverts which claimed they could "support" the immune system.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the magazine adverts were misleading and such claims should not be made without "robust" evidence.

The company said it accepted the ruling "in its entirety".

The issue of follow-on milk for children has been at the centre of continued controversy.

Companies are not allowed to advertise formula milk for babies under six months old.

A mother has a right to make an informed choice on how to feed her child
Mike Brady, of Baby Milk Action

But some pro-breast feeding groups believe there should be a total ban on this kind of advertising.

The World Health Organization recommends that babies are given breast milk exclusively for the first six months and after that it should continue alongside food until the age of two.

In one of the ads for Cow and Gate, a toddler is shown with text stating "still building their self-defences Cow and Gate follow-on milks support your baby's natural immune system".

As well as the immune system ruling, Milupa Aptamil was also told to stop claiming it was the "best" formula milk.

A spokeswoman for Nutricia said: "Cow and Gate and Aptamil accept the adjudication in its entirety."

She said they had already stopped using the claims.


Mike Brady, of the Baby Milk Action charity, welcomed the rulings, saying there needed to be accurate information about follow-on milk.

"A mother has a right to make an informed choice on how to feed her child."

And Rosie Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "This is a victory for all parents.

"It is another example of how commercially-motivated formula milk manufacturers are tempted to misuse research to persuade parents to use their brand.

"They have overstepped the mark with this advertisement."

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