The Who Code
by Peggy O’Mara
The World Health Organization has very specific code with regards to the marketing of breast milk substitutes. We found this very informative article discussing the code and it’s specific guidelines. The WHO Code prohibits advertising or promotion of the following products:
- breast-milk substitutes, including infant formula
- milk products, foods or beverages, including bottle-fed complementary foods, used as a partial or total replacement for breast milk.
- feeding bottles and nipples
The Code is very specific in regards to the responsibility of health care facilities and health workers.
- 6.2 No facility of a health care system should be used for the purpose of promoting infant formula or other products within the scope of this Code.
- 7.4 Samples of infant formula or other products within the scope of this Code, or of equipment or utensils for their preparation or use, should not be provided to health workers except when necessary for the purpose of professional evaluation or research at the institutional level. Health workers should not give samples of infant formula to pregnant women, mothers of infants and young children, or members of their families.
Since 1981, 84 countries have enacted legislation implementing all or many of the provisions of the Code and 14 others have laws in progress. Just six countries have taken no action at all to implement this important health directive:
- Central African Republic
- Untied States
Breastfeeding advocates in the US have worked to bring awareness to the important health benefits of breastfeeding and to encourage voluntary adoption of the Code. They have helped to decrease direct advertising to mothers in magazines, on websites and in other media by boycotting outlets that take formula advertising and they have worked to get rid of formula sample distribution in US hospitals by organizing consumer campaigns.
Read the rest of this wonderfully educational article HERE