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International Code of

Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 



September 2023

Since its launch in October 2022 until October 2023, VIVID has detected close to 30,000 Code violations mainly from Facebook, Instagram, and company websites. A findings brief on Australia was developed based on data made available from VIVID (Virtual Violations Detector) from October 2022 to August 2023. Close to 3800 entries have been captured, and some major themes have emerged. In September 2023, members of the civil society in Australia, including infant and young child nutrition advocates such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Australia National University, met with parliament members, and used findings in the brief to advocate for legal measures to restrict the rampant marketing. Read the report to find out more details. 



David Clark

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Our CATCH CHATS series feature David Clark, former UNICEF Legal Specialist and currently a Public Health and Human Rights Law Specialist, and Katherine Shats, UNICEF Legal Specialist.


These two global Code experts are joined by Constance Ching, Social Change Innovator and Code Consultant, for a deep-dive on Code implementation, monitoring, and ways to tackle digital marketing.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981 to restrict marketing that undermines breastfeeding and promotes inappropriate infant feeding practices. Subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions have been adopted to address evolving health recommendations and rapidly-changing marketing practices.

40 years later, predatory marketing is still a major barrier to improving breastfeeding. Every year, inadequate breastfeeding is associated with 700,000 deaths globally. Such marketing has been especially rampant on digital platforms.

Welcome to CATCH x International Code

CATCH is a connector hub to systematically collects Code violations through artificial intelligence, Virtual Violations Detector / VIVID, for national enforcement, advocacy, public knowledge, and research. By showing how companies are violating the Code, it is also a useful too for those interested in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) analysis and ethical investment.

Public users are encouraged to submit violations as part of the machine teaching process, as well as to participate in Code monitoring by submitting violations through a crowd-based option, especially with marketing practices that are not easily detected digitally.


Right now, we are in our beta phase - a critical step to collect and evaluate user/partner feedback for our next steps.

For the beta phase, our VIVID tools cover Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, UK, USA, and Viet Nam.

The scope of products includes:

  • breastmilk substitutes (up to 36 months / infant formula, follow-up formula, and growing-up milk)

  • bottles and teats

  • food for infants and young children

  • commercial milk formula for pregnant and lactating women

The list of violations provided by the VIVID is by no means exhaustive. At this stage, we wanted to suggest the prevalence of inappropriate marketing on digital platforms in select countries from a number of companies, hoping these examples can indicate the magnitude of the larger situation. It is complementary to ongoing monitoring in countries, and should not replace it.

Pose at Protest

Act now to hold corporations accountable!

Detect, Check & Report Violations

Review auto-detected violations on major social media platforms in select countries

Teach the machine to recognize more violations! Manually submit images to add to our database. This is also become part of machine training

Code monitors to submit violations manually. Violations will then be verified and posted on our page periodically.

Monitoring Reports and News

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