There is a gap in the research identifying areas for U.S. regulation of foods and beverages marketed for infants and toddlers through three years of age. To fill this gap, this paper evaluates relevant policy opportunities to address marketing and labeling practices of concern. First, we provide background on marketing and labeling of infant, baby, and toddler products and international recommendations related to these products and then we briefly review relevant international regulations. Next, we discuss the U.S. regulatory framework for food and drink labeling on product packages and marketing on television and the internet, and through the federal nutrition assistance program specifically for young children; this includes First Amendment considerations, and the authorities of Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), and Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Throughout these regulatory sections, we provide additional examples of concern related to the products of interest. We conclude by identifying gaps in U.S. regulations, opportunities for future research, and highlighting the need for specific regulatory actions in this context.
Federal Regulation of Infant and Toddler Food and Drink Marketing and Labeling
Toddler drinks are a relatively new product category, typically offered by infant formula manufacturers and promoted as beneficial for young children ages 12 months and older. Marketing promotes these drinks as the “next step” after infant formula, using claims that imply unproven benefits for children’s nutrition and health. However, these drinks … More
Infant formula and toddler milk marketing: opportunities to address harmful practices and improve young children’s diets
Children’s diets in their first 1000 days influence dietary preferences, eating habits, and long-term health. Yet the diets of most infants and toddlers in the United States do not conform to recommendations for optimal child nutrition. This narrative review examines whether marketing for infant formula and other commercial baby/toddler foods plays … More
Breastfeeding protects against overweight and obesity, asthma, eczema, and type-II diabetes, and has long-term health benefits for women. The health benefits of breastfeeding are so valuable that in 1981, the World Health Organization established the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (WHO Code) that prohibits marketing infant formula to … More