The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and distribution) Act 1972 amended in 2003
Prohibits any kind of promotion of infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles and infant foods to protect breastfeeding from commercial influences.
Educate pregnant women and lactating mothers about breast feeding to create awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding. The aim of the IMS act here is to provide accurate and factual information about breast feeding to reverse its decline and prevent incorrect information from reaching mothers.
Restrict and control the use of infant milk substitutes and infant foods, which can otherwise be harmful. The aim of the IMS Act is to restrict and control the use of these products by advocating their use only on the advice of the health worker.
Define the roles and responsibilities of health care worker to ensure optimum breastfeeding practices.
All forms of promotion of baby foods by manufacturers for babies under two years of age.
All advertisements in any media.
Gifts and free samples to mothers and healthcare providers.
Donation of educational materials, equipment or baby foods.
Picture of mother or baby on the labels of baby foods.
Sponsorships and displays in the healthcare system
Payment of commissions to staff by companies for promoting sales.
The act controls the marketing and promotional activities of the following products.
Infant milk substitutes includes any food being marketed to replace mothers milk upto five two years of age. There fore the said act intends to promote breastfeeding for two years or beyond. Examples: Lactogen – I Lactogen – II Nestogen I Nestogen II Lactodex I Lactodex II Amul Spray Zerolac Dexolac Prosoyal Simyl- MCT Similac Neosure or any other such infant formula.
Feeding bottles of any brand like Bonny Baby, Hello Baby, Wipro or any other brand
Infant food includes any food marketed for use after the age of six months as a complement to mother’s milk. The act intends to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Example: Nestum, Cerelac, Farex, Weano, Veelac, Infacare, First Food Deluxe, Easum, any health drinks and other food products promoted for the consumption of babies under the ages of two years.
According to the act, any person who contravenes section 6 of this act with regard to the label on the containers of the infant milk substitutes or infant foods or section 11 (1) and rules made under the act on the quality of infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles or infant foods, shall be punishable with imprisonment and fine. The imprisonment shall not be less than 6 months, which may extend up to 3 years and the fine shall not be less than 2000 rupees.
Any person who violates the provisions of the sections 3, 4, 5, 7,8, 9, 10 and subsections 11 and the rules made under section 26 of the act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine of five thousand rupees or both.
The court may for any adequate and special reason, reduce the fine and punishment to a minimum of three months of imprisonment, which may be extended up to two years. The minimum fine shall be one thousand rupees.
Dr Shobha Banapurmath, State Secretary,
The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India