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(The Government of South Africa)

The Legal Situation

(The Government of South Africa)
The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) on the Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes:

Those articles in the Code, which deal with the advertising of the products within the scopt of the Code, are administered by ASASA.

The Code will be legalised under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act.

While the ASASA administers the code, it is meant to be an impertial and independent body from the advertising industry, government and consumers.

"The South Africa Code", says manager of the legal regulatory affairs of ASASA, Stefan Vos, "has the difficulty that if a product is legal you can't easily withdraw it based on advertisement. However, if there is a valid complaint the ASASA's strength is that it is very quick to pull an advertisement out. It takes a mere three days after the complaint is lodged".

So far, the only big complaint regarding baby formula has been for a television advert showing a bright baby - the implication being that if your child drinks infant formula, he/she will be clever. This took place in 2001.

"We have been saying for a while that the Code must be updated and brought more in line with the international code. My view is just tell us the rules and we will play by the rules. For us it's as simple as that. Tell us you can only advertise in these circumstances. We need simpluicity so that everyone can understand. Any code should be in line with best practice. The difficulty is that our code is outdated and this creates uncertainty in the market place."

There are few problems of aggressive marketing tactics according to Vos, but there are problems of free samples being handed out at clinics and hospitals, which have been difficult for the ASASA to regulate.

The content on this page was last updated on 15 March 2014