December 16th, 2011

Bill to stop giving baby formula sparks debate

The Jerusalem Post

A private member’s bill aimed at restricting the ability of baby formula companies to supply their products free of charge in hospital maternity wards aroused a heated argument among legislators, Health Ministry officials and doctors in the Knesset Economics Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, initiated by MK Danny Danon (Likud), would prohibit hospitals from providing bottles of formula from a single company, something critics say can lead to aggressive marketing and the discouragement of breast feeding at home.

But opposition to the bill came from a surprising source – physicians.

Prof. Avinoam Reches, head of the ethics bureau of the Israel Medical Association, said that changing the behavior of mothers to encourage breast feeding should be done through information and education, and not by legislation.

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