SINGAPORE: Expect more public education on formula milk and a bigger push for breastfeeding following the release of findings from the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) into the supply of formula milk here, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo said on Saturday (May 13).
In a Facebook post, she noted that CCS found that formula milk companies invested heavily in aggressive marketing and advertising activities which strengthen parents’ perceptions that “more expensive means better”.
Authorities announced earlier this week that formula milk manufacturers will not be able to use nutrition and health claims, as well as images that make drinking formula milk look attractive, once changes to Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) regulations take effect. AVA will also also streamline its import regulations in order to facilitate the entry of more suppliers and brands of formula milk, and the changes are expected to be finalised by end-2017.
Mrs Teo who heads the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in the PMO, shared her personal experience with her children on Facebook, saying she concluded that "milk is milk, however fancy the marketing".
"Actually, breast milk is best and both the Health Promotion Board and World Health Organisation encourage mothers to breastfeed for at least 12 months," she said. "However, for parents who need to supplement with formula, all brands sold in Singapore, regardless of price, provide enough nutrition for babies to grow healthily.
"After the child turns one, milk powder isn't even needed. Fresh cow's milk, as part of a balanced diet, works well enough."
She added: "As long as AVA approves its import, the milk is good enough. I had no reason to pay more and would buy whatever was cheapest or on sale. The kids didn't always like adjusting but did so anyway. That's what I found great about kids - they adjust given time and encouragement."