Media Releases

Commerce Commission authorises INC Code restrictions on the marketing of infant formula

2 April 2015

The Commerce Commission has authorised members of the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) to follow their Code of Practice that restricts advertising and marketing of infant formula for children under six months of age.

The INC asked the Commission to authorise its Code under section 58 of the Commerce Act, as restrictions on advertising and marketing may lessen competition. After consulting on its draft determination, the Commission found that the public benefits outweigh the likely competitive detriments.

"After considering the feedback from a number of interested parties, the Commission has reached the view that the public benefits arising from higher breastfeeding rates outweigh any lessening of competition from the arrangement. The prices consumers pay for infant formula are unlikely to be affected," said Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry.

The written reasons for the decision are available.

Background

The INC is the association for the infant formula industry in Australia and New Zealand. Its membership is comprised of manufacturers, marketers and importers of infant formula.

The INC’s authorisation application for its Code of Practice only relates to infant formula for children under six months of age. Other milk formula products, such as follow-on formula and toddlers’ milk, do not form part of the application.

Authorisation requirements

The Commission may grant authorisation under section 58 of the Commerce Act for certain agreements that may otherwise breach the Commerce Act, if it is satisfied that the public benefits of the agreements outweigh the detriments arising from the loss of competition. The granting of an authorisation protects the applicant from court action under the Commerce Act by the Commission and private individuals.