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Walorski Urges U.S. to Fight WHO Milk Guidance

Published: Friday, June 16, 2017

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), in a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee last Thursday, urged Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price to advocate against World Health Organization (WHO) guidance recommending limits on the promotion of milk products for children.

"I'm concerned about the impact the WHO's guidance could have on children throughout the globe," Walorski said. "I'm concerned that, for no good reason, bureaucrats at the WHO are leaving parents and caregivers without a critical tool that aids in a child's growth and development, and preventing doctors from sharing information on the full range of options available for a child's healthy development.

In 2016, the WHO issued guidance on "Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children," recommending new restrictions and prohibitions on the promotion and marketing of milk products for children up to three years of age.

At the urging of the U.S., the World Health Assembly stated that any implementation of the recommendations in the WHO guidance should be done in accordance with each nation's needs and international obligations. However, according to Walorski, WHO is incorrectly presenting the guidance as a new international standard and pressuring governments to implement its recommendations.

As a result, a number of countries are drafting new laws to prohibit marketing of imported milk products consumed by children up to the age of 3, as well as other restrictions.

Walorski earlier this year led a letter signed by 16 of her colleagues urging Secretary Price to work with the U.S. trade representative, Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture "to advocate against measures being developed by our trading partners to implement the guidance that are not evidence-based, ignore alternative policies that have been proven to achieve the intended public health policy objective and are inconsistent with their international obligations, including those of the World Trade Organization."

Milk has long been recognized as a vital source of nutrients for children, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children begin consuming milk at age 1 to aid in growth and development.

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