Muscat: Oman’s Ministry of Health has been extolling the virtues of breast milk and the nutrition it imparts to the infant for a while. Now, the General Directorate of Standards and Metrology, of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion in cooperation with the Nutrition Department of the Ministry of Health has prepared an Oman Specifications Standard (OSS) for regulating the marketing of formula products for infants and young children.
A popular Arabic news website reported the preparation of the OSS project comes within the ministry’s work plan. The exercise aims to regulate the marketing of formula-based products for infants and kids, in line with the national policy in support of breast-feeding.
The Ministry indicated its concern pertained to the marketing of certain products as an alternative to breast milk or as a complementary food for infants. Among the main points to be noted in this regard were the use of products and raw materials that conform to the OSS. The production, packing and trading of the products in this context must also be done according to the terms and requirements mentioned in the specifications standard.
Another salient point that will be enforced includes no endorsement of any kind of medical, therapeutic or preventive aspect of the products, except after obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Health, provided that this is scientifically proven.
No pictures of infants or mothers or any other pictures or phrases that praise the use of the classified product shall be used, nor are food flavourings allowed to be used in infant food up to the age of six months.
The use of artificial flavourings or sweeteners in products for kids aged less than a year are also banned. Use of words or phrases about the product that imply similarity to breast milk is also prohibited. The Oman Specifications Standard is currently in the approval stage, awaiting approvals from the concerned authorities.