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
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.