All seven Yerevan City supermarkets continue to violate the laws regarding “Advertising” and “Food Safety”.
As seen in the accompanying photo, four of the stores prominently display a banner advertising the Hipp children’s’ food brand.
In the Natali drugstores operating in the other Yerevan City stores there’s the Russian language ad “купи 2 = получи 3” (buy 2 get the 3rd free) promoting fruit puree for children four months and older.
Article 15 of the RA Law on Advertising prohibits any advertising that seeks to promote the use of alternative foods as a replacement for mother’s milk for children up till the age of 6 months as well as ads for bottles and pacifiers.
Article 14 of the Food Safety Law prohibits the advertising of trademarks or brand names if they represent types of foodstuffs subject to certain restrictions according to the Law on Advertising.
After Hetq reported on the violations in a March 28 article entitled Yerevan City Supermarket Chain Flouts the Law, Yerevan City Director Vahram Kirakosyan promised that he would make additions to the Hipp ads stressing that the product is not intended for toddlers under six months old.
At the time Kirakosyan stated that they would continue to advertise the product correctly or would remove them.
Eight months after the article appeared and the promises made by Kirakosyan, the outside ads have not only remained as is but also the fruit puree ads have been added.
The Hipp ad also appears on the Yerevan City website.
We got the runaround when we called up the Yerevan City office. I finally got to speak to a guy named Edgar, who supposedly is in charge of advertising at the chain.
He kept insisting that I get in touch with the Hipp main office and didn’t seem to understand that the big advertising banners were displayed in Yerevan City stores and that the supermarket chain was thus guilty of violating the law.
The law promoting the use of breast milk for child nutrition was drafted back in 2005 but has only been seriously reworked this year.
Souren Krmoyan, Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Health, is hopeful that the bill will be finally introduced to parliament by the end of this month for a hearing.
He told Hetq that since there weren’t any penalties set none of the violators can be fined as of now.
Fines totaling from 300,000 to 1.5 million AMD will be proposed for first time violators and they will be doubled for repeat offenders. In certain cases, the ads can be removed on the spot by law enforcement.
The draft law envisages prohibiting not only the advertising of foodstuffs for children under the age of one but also any and all promotions –free gifts, free samples, etc – intended to promote the consumption of such items.