Code Related

25 countries issue alerts and withdrawals of contaminated rice-based formulas and baby foods

32 babies in France, Belgium and Luxembourg fell ill with Salmonellosis, a serious infection caused by harmful bacteria. The infants, aged between 2 and 18 months, were all fed specialty formulas in powder form made with rice protein; among them were products contaminated by Salmonella enterica serotype Poona.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) drops the baby formula industry

Closely following the footsteps of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) for turning away sponsorship from formula companies, it was announced on 18th March, 2019 that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and their sister publications will no longer publish advertisements from baby formula companies.

The Royal College of paediatrics and child health decides to turn away money from formula companies

In February 2019, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Council announced that it has decided to no longer accept any funding from formula milk companies, and reiterated their commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

Influx of Baby Food Supplies Swamped Central
Sulawesi Emergency Camps in Indonesia

The care and feeding of infants and young children are compromised in emergency situations such as droughts, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, epidemics and war, which often lead to high rates of disease and death.

ICDC Statement on the Food for Thought Report

IBFAN-ICDC welcomes comments and critiques on our work on the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (Code). We believe constructive criticisms facilitate discussion and open the gateway for improvement in an area of public interest work where, very often, one stands isolated and alone.

IBFAN Baby Food Product Recall List (last updated in April 2018)

In December 2017, French baby-milk maker Lactalis was under international scrutiny due to the worldwide recall of all of its products as a result of fears of possible contamination with salmonella.

Hong Kong should delay no more on legislation to protect babies

When the Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products and Foods for Infants and Young Children (HK Code) was by the Department of Health in Hong Kong in June 2017, ICDC pointed out its inherent weakness.  The HK Code is voluntary by nature and despite its extensive scope, it is unenforceable. There are no sanctions for non-compliance. Prompted by the recent Lactalis formula milk recall (1) in 83 countries, an open letter (2) published in the South China Morning Post reveals that even though the Hong Kong Code includes provisions requiring labels on infant formula for…

Chile’s Undersecretary of Health ordered to repay cost for milk formula

On 14 October 2017, the newspaper El Mercurio reported that Chile’s Comptroller’s Office has ordered the Undersecretary of Health, Jaime Burrows, to repay the expense on purchasing excessive milk formula (“starter formula”) for a pilot programme that distributes starter formula. According to a report from the Comptroller’s Office, 96,000 cans of starter formula were purchased in 2015 when only 9,000 were needed.

The fight for the first sip of milk: Nestle China employees convicted of illegally obtaining patients’ information from health workers

According to a report from the chinese Legal Weekly (11/7/2017) six employees from Nestlé China including the regional manager, have been convicted for illegally obtaining patients’ personal information from hospitals in Lan Zhou, capital of Gansu province. To gain market share, the employees also sent samples of baby formula to hospitals for the purpose of passing them on to parents of new-born babies, a practice forbidden by Chinese regulations. Bribed health workers served as intermediaries.

Fined! Nestlé gets what it deserves in Ecuador

In June 2017, the regulatory body on free markets in Ecuador imposed a fine exceeding USD 157,000 on the local Nestlé branch. This sanction was imposed for the unauthorised use of the name and emblem of the Ministry of Health of Ecuador on a leaflet about breastmilk substitutes.

Why is Singapore more worried about money than about health?

Instead of protecting breastfeeding and infant health, Singapore seems more concerned about a surge in formula prices. Just recently, a detailed investigation into formula milk prices by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) was widely reported in the media in Singapore . The report released by CCS called for a halt on aggressive marketing tactics of formula milks.

Battle of Breastmilk vs. Formula Milk as Hong Kong awaits adoption of Code

After years of lobbying efforts by breastfeeding advocates, the Hong Kong SAR Government has recently decided to revive the stalled marketing code that gives effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (“Hong Kong Code”). The government plans to the Hong Kong Code into effect around mid-2017 after a lapse of 5 years and several rounds of consultations.

Health professional associations and industry funding

In October 2016, the Council of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) announced its decision to continue accepting funding from baby food companies to support their activities. This is despite a successful motion adopted at RCPCH’s 2016 AGM for the practice to cease. The decision by the Council of RCPCH, its formal decision making body, is a disappointment to many who look to the UK institution for leadership in matters affecting child health. It sets a bad example for other national health professional associations.

Nestle goes rogue with the Guidance on Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children

In May 2016, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted resolution 69.9 [2016] that calls on countries to implement the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guidance on Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children.

Cambodia: Where enforcement is lacking, whistle-blowing yields results

In October last year, IBFAN-ICDC blew the whistle against blatant violations of the Cambodian Law (Sub-Decree on Marketing of Products for Infants and Young Child Feeding, also known as Sub-Decree 133) that gives effect to the Code but remains largely unenforced. Under Sub-Decree 133, promotion of infant and young child feeding products at point-of-sale and healthcare facilities are not allowed.

Breaking News – Code regression in Fiji

In a bizarre episode that shows no country can afford to rest on its laurels after successful Code implementation, Fiji’s labelling provisions vanished.

Fiji amended their Food Safety Regulations on 23 June 2016 that has the effect of deleting all labelling provisions in Part IV of its Marketing Controls (Foods for Infants and Young Children) Regulations 2010.

Fensa, Not a “Fence” to protect public health

WHO has been undergoing a reform process for the past few years in three main areas: programmatic, managerial, and governance. FENSA, the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, part of WHO’s governance reform, was adopted through WHA Resolution 69.10 on 28 May, 2016.

The movie Tigers salutes the courage of a salesman turned whistleblower

The 90-minute feature-film ‘Tigers’, directed by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanović, received a standing ovation and resounding applause at its world premiere at the Toronto and San Sebastian International Film Festivals in September 2014……..

Cambodia: PM calls for enforcement of promotion ban as companies infiltrate healthcare system

Soon after IBFAN-ICDC blew the whistle on Bibere/Nutrilatt for giving out samples in public, the Cambodia Daily revealed that companies are using the healthcare system and health professionals to push their products onto new mothers

Conflict of Interest – The Breastfeeding Friendly Country Index Project

We anticipate that in the near future, many will be approached by the Breastfeeding Friendly Country Index Project, developed by The Yale School of Public Health in partnership with the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation of Zug, Switzerland. ICDC would like to highlight that the sponsoring Foundation is also the owner of Medela, a breast pump manufacturer and a violator of the International Code.

ICDC Exposes on Code Violations in Cambodia & Myanmar

As a result of monitoring submitted by ICDC voluntary monitors, ICDC was able to blow the whistle against blatant violations of the Cambodian Law which gives effect to the Code but remains largely unenforced.

Friesland: Most profit from additives

In an article in the Dutch daily, De Volkskrant, on 27 August 2015, the FrieslandCampina cooperative explains its huge earnings during the first 6 months of 2015. Its profits came to Euro 192 million, 85% more than during the same period last year. While farmers are earning less on raw milk and orders from China are down, the company is earning “spectacular profits” on dairy products such as baby milks. “Although milk prices are down…. we can make money by adding value to products.”

Mead Johnson Nutrition slapped with a $12 million penalty to settle on SEC bribery charges

According to a recent statement issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJ), the world’s second largest infant formula manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $12 million settlement on its violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Despite the Illinois-based company’s refusal to admit guilt, the sum is to settle bribery charges.

Labelling success in Tanzania!

Visiting Tanzania for training for the first time in June 2015, ICDC’s Legal Advisor was thrilled to discover that the labels of all imported and local baby food products were free of promotional text and logos.

Longtime Code Champion Dr. Susanna Harutyunyan Advocates for the Health of Infants and Young Children in Armenia through Breastfeeding Protection

On 20 November 2014, the Law on Breastfeeding Promotion and Regulation of Marketing of Baby Food was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. The new Law covers all provisions of the International Code and relevant WHA resolutions, and in some aspects, even goes beyond them ….

Some lines are not meant to be crossed. There is a conflict of interest when baby food companies promote breastfeeding

Baby food companies appearing as crusaders for breastfeeding is a growing concern, especially when they use such tactics to contact mothers and pregnant women. In Indonesia, Nestlé is establishing partnerships with provincial community clinics that serve pregnant women and children.

Wyeth rides on breastfeeding to promote products in China

In March, the People’s Daily reported on a breastfeeding exhibition roadshow – “Paying Tribute to Breastmilk” which is sponsored by Wyeth, a leading formula manufacturer owned by Nestlé. With the slogan “Promote Breastmilk, Research Breastmilk, Learn from Breastmilk”, the roadshow will make its way to 20 more cities in China.

Advertising and food laws in China: More teeth?

For a number of years now, ICDC has been trying to convince health authorities in China to upgrade its Code measure but no avail. When the official stand was swaying towards limiting the ban on promotion only to products marketed for children below 6 months, we wondered if the quest to improve Code implementation had been defeated

India Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) spoke out against Nestlé

ICDC’s sister organisation and IBFAN representative in India Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) spoke out in the media against Nestlé’s violation of the national law (Infant Milk Substitutes Act).

Pampers Down a very Slippery Slope

Pampers, a longtime world-leading household name for diapers and baby wipes products, has now ventured into manufacturing feeding bottles. This will put the diaper company under the purview of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and as a result of its promotional activities, into the bad camp of Code violators.