Marketing Codes

Infant Formula Marketing Codes for Members and the Industry.

Breast milk is by far the best nutrition for infants and for this reason the promotion and protection of breastfeeding is a key factor in ensuring infant health and well being.

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 1981 (WHO Code) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions aim to contribute to providing safe and adequate nutrition for infants by protecting and promoting breastfeeding. It also aims to ensure the proper use of breast milk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

Infant Nutrition Council members support the aim of the WHO Code and have worked with both the Australian and New Zealand governments and other stakeholders to develop and implement local interpretations of the WHO Code.

Infant Nutrition Council members are signatories to the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement 1992 (MAIF Agreement) and in New Zealand members have adopted the The Infant Nutrition Council Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand.

These agreements prescribe how information about infant formula can be marketed in Australia and New Zealand.

WHO Code

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 1981

MAIF Agreement

Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement 1992 (MAIF Agreement)

Code of Practice NZ

The Infant Nutrition Council Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand

WHO Code

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes 1981 (WHO Code)

The 10 key points from the WHO Code, which apply to products within the scope of the International Code, are as follows.

  1. Products should not be advertised or otherwise promoted to the public.
  2. Mothers and pregnant women and their families should not be given samples of products.
  3. Health care providers should not be given free or subsidised supplies of products and must not promote products.
  4. People responsible for marketing products should not try to contact mothers or pregnant women or their families.
  5. The labels on products should not use words or pictures, including pictures of infants, to idealise the use of the products.
  6. Health workers should not be given gifts.
  7. Health workers should not be given samples of products, except for professional evaluation or research at the institution level.
  8. Material for health workers should contain only scientific and factual information and must not imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding.
  9. All information and educational materials for pregnant women and mothers, including labels, should explain the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding, the social and financial implications of its use, and the health hazards of the unnecessary or improper use of formula.
  10. All products should be of a high quality and take account of the climate and storage conditions of the country where they are used.

MAIF Agreement

Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement 1992 (MAIF Agreement) The MAIF Agreement is a voluntary self-regulatory code of conduct between the manufacturers and importers of infant formula in Australia. It is Australia’s response to the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 1981 (WHO Code). The MAIF Agreement applies to those Australian manufacturers and importers of infant formula who are signatories to the MAIF Agreement. The MAIF Agreement aims to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use of breast milk substitutes, when they are necessary, on the basis of adequate information through appropriate marketing and distribution. Current MAIF Agreement Signatories:

  • Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd
  • Australian Dairy Park Pty Ltd
  • Bayer Australia Ltd
  • Bellamy’s Organic
  • Freedom Foods Group Trading Pty Ltd
  • H & H Group
  • Nature One Dairy Pty Ltd
  • Nestlé Australia Ltd
  • Nuchev Pty Ltd
  • Nutricia Australia Pty Ltd
  • Reckitt Benckiser (Australia) Pty Limited
  • Sanulac Nutritionals Australia Pty Ltd
  • Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd
  • The a2 Milk Company Ltd
  • The Infant Food Co. Pty Limited
  • The Little Oak Company
  • Wattle Health Australia Limited

Implementing and Monitoring the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in New Zealand:

The Code in New Zealand

Te riunga ora mō ngā mokopuna – The safe pathways to children’s wellbeing

The Ministry of Health has taken action to give effect to the International Code’s principles and aim and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions, as appropriate to New Zealand’s social and legislative framework.

The Infant Nutrition Council Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula in New Zealand supports The Code in New Zealand and applies to the manufactures and importers of infant formula who are members of INC.

The INC Code of Practice is a voluntary self-regulatory code of conduct that applies to the marketing of infant formula products suitable for infants up to the age of 12 months.

Compliance with the INC Code of Practice

The Ministry is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the INC Code of Practice. The Ministry does this by receiving complaints about potential breaches of the INC Code of Practice. If an issue is not resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction through a natural justice process, it will be submitted to a Compliance Panel for a decision.

Compliance Panel for the Code in New Zealand

WHO Compliance Panel for Implementing and Monitoring the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in New Zealand: The Code in New Zealand (the Code in New Zealand) (CP). The Compliance Panel was established by the Ministry of Health in 2008 and is part of the complaints process for implementing and monitoring the Code in New Zealand. Its overall objective is to contribute to the wider policy environment which supports the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for New Zealand infants.

Role of the Compliance Panel

The role of the CP is to:

  • make decisions on unresolved complaints relating to either the Code of Practice for Health Workers (Ministry of Health 2007) or the Infant Nutrition Council Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formula
  • provide advice on appropriate action to remedy a breach of either code in New Zealand.

There is an appeal process, presided over by an adjudicator, for complaints unresolved by the Compliance Panel.

Compliance with the MAIF Agreement

Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement (MAIF) Complaints Committee

The MAIF Complaints Committee is managed by the Australian Government Department of Health and was established in 2018. The Committee consists of three members: an independent representative; a public health representative; and an industry representative. The Department of Health is responsible for all associated secretariat functions of this Committee.

The MAIF Complaints Committee will consider all complaints and determine if they are in-scope or out-of-scope of the MAIF Agreement. If a complaint is determined in-scope, the MAIF Complaints Committee will then determine if a breach of the MAIF Agreement has occurred.