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There's a baby formula controversy in Kenya, too. But shortages are not the issue

Added 05-26-22 10:07:01am EST - “Some media reports say the government is banning baby bottles. Not true. A new law clamps down on advertising for bottles and infant formula. But bottle users are still concerned.” - Npr.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Npr.org: “There's a baby formula controversy in Kenya, too. But shortages are not the issue”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Sharon Macharia read in a Kenyan newspaper that baby bottles would be banned. As a working mom, she depends on bottles to feed her youngest baby. She was happy to learn that the report was untrue — although the government is introducing a new law to clamp down on ads that promote the use of baby formula. Thomas Bwire for NPR hide caption

Sharon Macharia read in a Kenyan newspaper that baby bottles would be banned. As a working mom, she depends on bottles to feed her youngest baby. She was happy to learn that the report was untrue — although the government is introducing a new law to clamp down on ads that promote the use of baby formula.

Sharon Macharia juggles work and family as a communication development expert in Nairobi. Now that Macharia's maternity leave is over, her youngest daughter drinks from a baby bottle just as her eldest did. But Macharia has read in a leading Kenyan newspaper that the country will ban bottle feeding for babies at the end of May. "I was shocked indeed," she says.

Kenya's government is not actually banning baby bottles, or baby formula for that matter. So headlines about bans are incorrect. A law coming into effect on May 30 clamps down on advertising for bottles, infant formula and pacifiers. The most visible change will be tougher labeling. Products sold in stores will have a boxed warning similar to that on cigarettes, with messaging like "Breastfeeding is best," or "WARNING: Use of teats can interfere with breastfeeding," referring to the word used in Kenya for the artificial nipple at the tip of a feeding bottle.

The rules come in response to an increase in aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes on social media platforms like Facebook, says Veronica Kirogo, director of nutrition and dietetics services at Kenya's Ministry of Health.

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