Social media video sparks debate on Aptamil baby formula authenticity

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Social media video sparks debate on Aptamil baby formula authenticity
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A recent video circulating on social media has sparked a heated discussion regarding the authenticity of Aptamil baby formula available in Uganda.

The video claims that Aptamil formula without a teddy bear image on the tin is fake, while the one with the teddy bear, known as ‘U.K.-made,’ is genuine.

However, experts and authorities are clarifying that this assertion is misleading.

Aptamil baby formula is a popular and widely trusted brand of infant nutrition products, designed to support the growth and development of babies from birth onwards.

Aptamil baby formula is packaged differently for various markets.

The version without the teddy bear image is the officially distributed pack for the Ugandan market, adhering to the country's strict breastfeeding policies.

This discrepancy in packaging has caused confusion among consumers, leading many to believe that only the pack with the teddy bear is authentic.

According to industry experts, both versions of Aptamil – with and without the teddy bear – contain the same product made by the same company, offering identical quality and nutritional content for infants.

However, ensuring the safety and authenticity of baby formula requires consumers to purchase these products from reputable sources.

Authorised retailers reduce the risk of counterfeit and improperly stored or mishandled formulas.

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has issued guidelines emphasizing that the presence of a teddy bear or other images on baby formula packaging could influence mothers' purchasing decisions.

Consequently, the official pack authorised for the Ugandan market features a plainer design to comply with these regulations.

This policy aligns with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, known as the WHO Code, which regulates the marketing of breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles, and teats in WHO member states.

Dr Victoria Nkibuuku, a neonatologist at Nsambya Hospital, highlighted the importance of complementary feeding for infants.

"When a baby is born, there are many lying down at six months, they are starting to crawl, they are using a lot of energy so breast milk alone may not be enough," she said0.

"That’s why we have to bring in the other foods, what we call the complementary feeds, to also assist the breast milk so that the baby can have sufficient growth," she explained.

The pack with the teddy bear image often enters Uganda through unofficial channels. While the product itself may be genuine, its distribution via the black market raises concerns about storage conditions, expiration dates, and overall product safety.

Mothers and caregivers in Uganda are urged to exercise caution when purchasing baby formula. Understanding the differences in packaging and recognising products certified by the UNBS, along with purchasing from authorized retailers, can help avoid counterfeit goods and ensure the health and well-being of their children.

For more information, consumers are encouraged to consult with healthcare professionals and refer to UNBS guidelines to make informed decisions about baby formula products.

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