Laura Leeks says she was ‘guilt-tripped’ for buying formula and was unable to qualify for free parking because UK law prohibits promotion of product
A mother who cannot breastfeed her baby for medical reasons has said she was “guilt-tripped” by Tesco for buying baby formula. Laura Leeks said staff refused to let her park for free because she bought only the formula during a visit to a store in Essex.
She said she was told at a Tesco in Braintree that in order to qualify for the free parking voucher she had to buy another product. The voucher is classed as a promotion and the law prohibited promotions on products including formula and tobacco.
“I am delighted that you as a company support breast feeding. However, I cannot accept that your policies lead to your staff shaming women who, for whatever reason, are using baby formula. I also cannot accept the comparison of formula feeding with the harmful effects of smoking,” she wrote on the firm’s Facebook page.
“I remain sad that I could not solely breast feed [my child]. However, I am reassured that, due to the nutritious formula, he is happy, healthy and growing well. I do not, however, need to be ‘guilt-tripped’ by a Tesco employee who has absolutely no knowledge of my circumstances,” she added.
“I applaud your commitment to support breastfeeding. However, this does not mean you should abuse women who do not breast feed.”
The Department of Health said the relevant rules are enshrined in UK law as a result of an EU regulation on the sale of baby formula. “These rules are currently in place because of EU law,” a spokesman said. “But our great repeal bill means that when we leave the EU, laws such as these will be debated and controlled by the UK parliament.”
UK legislation specifically bans advertising formula, giving away free samples and “any other promotional activity to induce the sale of an infant formula”, among other things.
While the relevant EU regulation bans “any … promotional device to induce sales of infant formula directly to the consumer at the retail level, such as … discount coupons”, UK government guidelines on its application do not specifically mention parking vouchers.
They say the law bans “multi packs (bulk packs), loyalty/reward card schemes, free formula, price reductions, discounts or mark downs and buy one get one free” offers.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We always strive to provide the best possible service for our customers and we understand Ms Leeks’ request. However, due to UK law we cannot promote baby formula in any way, including the offering of a parking voucher.”
Fuente: The Guardian
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