ICDC’s Code monitoring is sustained by volunteers from around the world. Their contributions and whistle-blowing efforts enable us to keep up with latest company strategies and marketing trends.
We provide below selected examples of recent Code violations (yet unpublished anywhere else). The benchmarks are the minimum standards set by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions.
Everyone can monitor. And monitoring can be done anytime anywhere. Help us to call companies to account by submitting pictures of Code violations or practices which, in your view, undermine breastfeeding in your community.
We have a Quick & Easy Form you can use to convey the relevant information.
In May 2016, WHO published a report1 recommending that countries should broaden the range of designated products under the scope of their legislation to include all milk products intended and marketed as suitable for feeding young children up to the age of 36 months.
In the same month, the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA 69.9  welcomed the Guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children2 which reaffirms that breastmilk substitutes should be understood to include any milks that are specifically marketed for the feeding of infants and young children up to the age of 36 months including follow-up formula and growing-up milk.
With these affirmative statements and recommendations, it becomes clear that follow-up milks and growing milks are covered by the scope of the Code; something that IBFAN has maintained all along and which industry disputes.
Many of the marketing practices reported here date back from before the Guidance was issued but there is nothing to show that industry will pay any heed to the Guidance. Violations submitted to IBFAN-ICDC post Guidance will be indicated as such on this website.
In May 2016, the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA 69.9  welcomed the Guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children. The Guidance applies to all commercially produced foods that are marketed as being suitable for infants and young children from the age of 6 months to 36 months – products that are commonly defined as complementary foods in national laws and policies.
We provide below links to different types of inappropriate promotion (yet unpublished anywhere else) that companies engage in so readers can see how companies market their products in ways that are detrimental to infant and young child health. Each entry is the result of voluntary monitoring conducted by our supporters from different parts of the
world. The Guidance’s recommendations relating to promotion of foods for infants and young children are reproduced in each section of this report.
She Made a Difference
Bindi Borg, a development practitioner who is currently conducting research in infant and young child feeding, has a lot of balls in the air. While working on her research in Cambodia, Bindi, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, a trained breastfeeding counsellor and a mother of two, combined her many roles to become Code monitor extraordinaire.
By a stroke of good luck, Bindi was able to join an ICDC Code course in Jakarta in 2015 after years of correspondence on Code issues. For ICDC, training Bindi was a worthwhile investment. In October 2015, Bindi drew ICDC’s attention to the practice of a New Zealand company, Bibere, in distributing formula samples to pregnant women in the public and in health facilities. Her complaint to ICDC resulted in two articles being reported in the Phnom Penh Post and Dairy Reporter.com and this spurred UN agencies and international organisations working in Cambodia to speed up efforts to strengthen enforcement mechanisms in Cambodia.
In August 2016, Bindi discovered Danone was promoting its Dumex formula products through the distribution of free samples and huge decals promoting the Dumex brand on the elevator doors of a popular maternity clinic. (PDF). This time around, Bindi took her complaint directly to Cambodian regulators who by then were armed with operational procedures to act. The regulators inspected the health facility and in matter of days, were able to remove all violations. In a press article, published by the Phnom Penh Post, the health facility denied the violations took place while Danone, as expected, defended the practices as being allowable under the Cambodian Law. Whatever position these Code violators chose to take, Bindi’s actions caused the health facility to change its practice. Danone now realises it is being watched in Cambodia and we expect the company to be more restrained in its marketing conduct in future.
Bindi and her family have recently left Cambodia and have moved to Cameroon in Central Africa. We wish her and her family well in their new home. We look forward to more monitoring gems from her!
Once a monitor, always a monitor !!