In 1981 the World Health Organization and UNICEF
developed the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.
The substance of this code includes:
The most recent UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) report shows
that only 16 countries have achieved full adherence to the policies of
the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. The
United States is the only major country and one of 15 countries that
have not taken any steps in implementation of the Code. Status on
adherence of individual countries to the Code can be found through
- Breast milk substitutes include:
- infant formula,
- other milk products,
- foods and other drinks used for partial or total
replacement of breast milk in the infant's diet.
- No advertising or other form of promotion of breast milk
substitutes to the general public.
- Manufacturers and distributors of breast milk substitutes should
not provide samples of their products to pregnant women, mothers
or families of infants.
- Manufacturers and distributors should not provide gifts which may
promote the use of breast milk substitutes to pregnant women, or
mothers of infants and young children.
- Marketing personnel should have no contact with pregnant women or
with mothers of infants and young children.
- Educational materials on infant feeding should include:
- clear information on the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding.
- if information on formula feeding is included, it must
include information on the social, financial, and health
hazards of the unnecessary use of breast milk substitutes.
- There should be no display of breast milk substitutes in health
- Donations or low price sales of breast milk substitutes to health
care systems are permitted, but these should be used only for
infants who have to be fed on breast milk substitutes.
Distribution of these breast milk substitutes should be done only
by the organization.
- All breast milk substitutes should be high quality.
- Responsibility for monitoring of the Code belongs to the