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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Got Milk? Writing the nanny-state into EU law

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.


Rollo said...

Can they ban pictures of William Hague?

Rik said...

1. This is basically an example of what you get when you add an extra level of government.

2. This used to be a big issue in developing countries btw. The Nestles were selling the stuff basically on status and it is better for your baby. While it clearly wasnot that way as eg alot of people were unable to properly clean the bottles.
But simply assuming that this will be similar in the EU is a bit moronic.

And what kind of picture do you want to put otherwise on this stuff (a dog or a car).
Positive is however it doesnot have to be 20% coloured, 50% female, 1% transsexual and 10% gay at least.

Great remark (and of a few others as well).

Anonymous said...

They could use pics of ugly babies!!

Jesper said...

While part of the bill might make sense a big portion of it does not.

Looks like MEPs have decided to copy yet another bad feature from the US, the 'rider':
"in legislatures, a rider is an amendment tacked on to a bill which has little or no relevance to the main purpose of the legislation, but is a way to get the amendment passed if the basic bill has support"

Derfel Cadarn said...

This is nanny state stupidity of the first order. The EU has far more pressing measures with which to occupy its time and energies, but that would require functioning braincells. Those appear to be in very short supply in the EU

Anonymous said...

This EU club should probably take up the issue of banning low branches on trees. That's popular in some circles. That would be fun.