Bahrain baby food safety backed
Manama, January 25, 2011
Bahrain's government could be soon obliged by law to ensure that all baby food entering the market is safe.
The Shura Council has voted to safeguard newborns and youngsters from potentially harmful products, as they agreed parts of a new draft Child Law.
However, they agreed to allow the Health and Industry and Commerce Ministers to decide whether to allow foods that have preservatives and added colours into the market, if they believe they followed international nutrition standards.
No advertisements for any baby food will be allowed until it is registered with the Health Ministry.
Those who fail to comply could face up to three years in jail, a BD2,000 fine or both.
Meanwhile, councillors were unable to decide on a new chapter added by parliament that would oblige the government to come up with a health card.
They decided to refer it back to the council's woman and child committee to clarify articles and ensure that they serve the purpose of inclusion in the law.
Council services committee chairman and former Health Minister Dr Nada Haffadh said including articles in the law would make protecting children's health easier.
'Protecting newborns and children through baby foods is essential considering that nutrition is a basic pillar for growth,' she said.
'The assurances included in this law will now mean that for any baby food to enter the market, it will have to be carefully monitored and checked, which I believe is an excellent right for children.'
Speaking about health cards, Dr Haffadh said that councillors should think more broadly about the issue given that a patient database was the key requirement.
'We want medical records for children that all medical staff can access whether in the government or private sector through a proper network,' she said.
'The government should come up with a system that protects children and ensure that they are away from any misdiagnosis or improper medical judgment and this can't come through cards that only have basic information.'-TradeArabia News Service