MALAYSIA – Endless promotion of growing-up milks

Code Violations
Promotion to the public and in shops


Abbott Laboratories
100 Abbott Park Road
Abbott Park,
Illinois 60064-3500

In the flyers given out regularly to shoppers at Tesco Penang, Malaysia, there are promotions of Abbott Similac Gain Plus growing-up milks. Parents will certainly be enticed by special discounts and the attractive yet ingenious free gifts of 10 small sachets of Similac Gain Plus.

Growing up-milks, unlike infant and follow-up formulas, are not covered by the Malaysian Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant Foods and Related Products (Malaysian Code). Therefore, like most companies in Malaysia, Abbott heavily promotes their growing-up milks instead at retail outlets and supermarkets. However, the 2016 WHO Guidance reaffirms that growing-up milk is a breastmilk substitute, therefore promoting it is a Code violation.

It is important to strengthen implementation of the International Code, subsequent WHA resolutions and the 2016 WHO Guidance at national level in order to better promote and protect breastfeeding. Countries should give effect to the 2016 WHO Guidance by ensuring that both follow-up formula and growing-up milks are included in the scope of their national measures.

Abbott uses idealising claims such as “Discover Faster Learning” and “Scientifically formulated with EYEQ nutrition for more brain cell connections” on the label to blatantly promote the product.