Protecting Breastfeeding

The International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) protects breastfeeding by implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Our aim is to ensure the right of mothers to make infant feeding decisions free from commercial pressures.

ICDC, a member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), focuses on the International Code and operates from IBFAN Penang in Malaysia. We conduct Code training courses, analyse drafts of legislation and other regulatory measures designed to implement the International Code at a national level, hold the most comprehensive collection of national laws and other measures in the world, and publish Code resource materials that are used by UN agencies, national governments, policy makers, and infant feeding advocates.

Helping Governments Implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

The International Code and resolutions form the basis of governments' measures to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes (baby milks).We work with governments to draft and adopt laws based on the International Code, monitor the marketing practices of baby milk manufacturers, and train health workers, and breastfeeding advocates on the Code.

We provide Code advocacy and drafting training, and give legal advice to governments, infant health agencies, and NGOs. Over the last 20 years, we have contributed directly and indirectly to 72 countries implementing all or many of the provisions of the International Code into national legislation.

Sometimes the legal process moves quickly, like Fiji where the baby food marketing law was adopted within four months. But most countries take years, such as South Africa, where, from 2003 to 2012, ICDC supported the drafting of a law reflecting all Code provisions, which was finally adopted at the end of 2012. 

Monitoring and Publishing Code Violations

Despite ICDC’s success, so much work remains.  Around the world, many countries still lack legal protection from marketing practices, or lack  monitoring programs that ensure marketing practices comply with enacted provisions. 

Unchecked, manufacturers of baby milks and food continue to violate Code provisions by marketing their products to mothers directly, or through health-care workers, with the end result being increased infant morbidity and mortality.

Latest Code violations yet unpublished elsewhere can be viewed here

Law in Myanmar !!!!

ICDC is honoured to be present at the launch of the Myanmar Law – the Order of Marketing of Formulated Foods for Infants and Young Children on 9 September 2014 , in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw. The law, adopted in record time in August 2014, is issued under Myanmar’s National Food Law. ICDC is concerned about the discretionary powers conferred on Myanmar Food and Drug Board to approve some marketing practices in the health care system where there should have been absolute prohibitions but otherwise considers the law to be an accomplished piece of drafting, well written, concise and up to date. ICDC’s consultants are in Myanmar at the invitation of UNICEF. Mission - to assist in building the capacity of local officials in monitoring read more...

Code Monitoring Training in Malaysia

One of IBFAN-ICDC’s core activity is training but we rarely get to train mother support groups as our focus has always been at the policy making level.

In August 2014, after receiving numerous requests via social media for training on the Code, the World Breastfeeding Alliance (WABA) together with the Persatuan Penyusuan Susu Ibu Malaysia (PPPIM) decided to pull together their resources to organise a Code monitoring course in Kelana Jaya. The three day training was facilitated by IBFAN-ICDC and we managed to attract 30 participants from various mother support groups in Kuala Lumpur and surroundings. One mother came all the way from Penang and another from Perak, baby and all. There was also a group of child care givers present at the training read more...

BTR Press Launch

 ICDC Director, Annelies Allain (right), speaking at the launch of the BTR 2014 at the Club Suisse de la Presse, Geneva on 16 May 2014. ICDC Director, Annelies Allain (right), speaking at the launch of the BTR 2014 at the Club Suisse de la Presse, Geneva on 16 May 2014.   

In Geneva, on 16 May, IBFAN-ICDC launched Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules, 2014,(BTR 2014) just days before the start of the World Health Assembly. In the large Conference room of the Swiss Press Club, Annelies Allain, Director of ICDC, explained to an audience of over 30, how the Code violations had been collected, assembled, verified and published. She highlighted the current trends in commercial product promotion and pointed to some of the worst examples in the Abridged BTR: in Brief  (click here for a free pdf copy, 40 pages).  It is organized by theme read more...