Open Europe Blog

Cute babies banned from formula packaging

The European Parliament has agreed new rules that will regulate the labels and content of baby milk and foods.  Under these new rules, “pictures of infants, or other pictures or text which may idealise the use of such formula” will be banned from the packaging of baby formula – so no pictures of cute babies on the front.

In the UK, the use of babies’ pictures is already illegal for ‘infant formula’ (for those between 0-6 months), but is legal for ‘follow-on formula’ (for those between 6-12 months). The new EU rules will ban the use of pictures of infants for marketing on both types.

Why is this necessary? Well, according to the European Parliament’s view-point, mothers may not understand the value of breastfeeding, and thus need to be guided in case they are ‘discouraged’ from doing so by attractive formula packaging.

This just goes to show the extent to which EU legislation now touches on the most unexpected areas of people’s everyday lives. The recent attempt to ban re-usable olive oil containers from restaurants is another example. Thankfully, this ridiculous idea was dropped after widespread ridicule.

But the sheer volume of law and regulation emanating from the EU institutions shows why we need to strengthen the powers of national parliaments to properly scrutinise and block unwanted EU rules and, more importantly, to question whether these are things the EU should be doing at all.

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