Baby formula makers still breaking global marketing rules – report | Reuters

3 March 2022

This Reuters article covers the latest WHO and UNICEF report “How the marketing of formula milk influences our decisions on infant feeding”. The report is a call to action for governments to implement the BMS Code in regulation. At the same time, baby food manufacturers are urged to market formula responsibly in line with the international BMS Code.

ATNI’s BMS Index monitors the marketing practices of the leading BMS manufacturers globally with the aim to drive corporate change to improve child health. As ATNI prepares for its consultations on the next BMS Index, this report offers insights on the marketing channels and messaging around BMS products used by the industry across multiple countries.

The article states: “The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, where possible, as the healthier option.

The report’s authors and several external experts said it was time to reform the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The code was set up by WHO in 1981 in a bid to regulate the industry after scandals in the 1970s when Nestle was accused of discouraging mothers, particularly in developing countries, from breastfeeding.

Formula milk and tobacco are the only two products for which there are international guidelines to prevent marketing.

Despite this, only 25 countries have fully implemented the code into legislation, and over the last four decades, sales of formula milk have more than doubled, while breastfeeding rates have only slightly increased, the WHO said. The formula milk industry is now worth $55 billion annually.”

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