More about the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
In the 1970s, unregulated marketing of infant formula was contributing to the alarming decline in breastfeeding and widespread infant mortality. The World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981 and subsequently other relevant resolutions (collectively known as the Code) to restrict marketing that undermines breastfeeding and promotes inappropriate infant feeding practices. Subsequent WHA resolutions have been adopted to address evolving health recommendations and rapidly-changing marketing practices.
40 years later, predatory marketing of breastmilk substitutes and related products is still a predominant barrier to improving breastfeeding. Every year, inadequate breastfeeding is associated with 700,000 deaths globally. Corporations use egregious tactics to undermine breastfeeding, causing harm to health and development. Such marketing has been especially rampant on digital platforms. A Decision adopted by the WHA in May 2022 requests the Director-General to develop guidance for Member States on regulatory measures to restrict digital marketing of breastmilk substitutes.