IBFAN-ICDC LEGAL UPDATE

January – May 2019

Topics highlighted in this issue:

  • ICDC OFFERS FREE COPIES OF “BREAKING THE RULES, STRETCHING THE RULES” TO CELEBRATE IBFAN’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY
  • IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES ALL-TIME BEST-SELLER “PROTECTING INFANT HEALTH: A HEALTH WORKER’S GUIDE”
  • IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES THE CHINESE ANNOTATED COMPILATION OF CODE AND WHA RESOLUTIONS
  • INTERVIEW WITH ICDC DIRECTOR ANNELIES ALLAIN “PIONEER OF THE INTERNATIONAL CODE OF MARKETING OF BREASTMILK SUBSTITUTES” FEATURED IN THE JOURNAL OF HUMAN LACTATION
  • CODE TRAINING FOR MALAYSIAN BREASTFEEDING PEER COUNSELLORS
  • ICDC CONSULTANTS IN TIMOR-LESTE FOR A SECOND VISIT TO PROMOTE CODE IMPLEMENTATION
  • ICDC KICKING OFF THE NEW YEAR IN DHAKA BANGLADESH
  • 25 COUNTRIES ISSUE ALERTS AND WITHDRAWALS OF CONTAMINATED RICE-BASED FORMULAS AND BABY FOODS
  • THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL (BMJ) DROPS THE BABY FORMULA INDUSTRY
  • THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PAEDIATRICS AND CHILD HEALTH DECIDES TO TURN AWAY MONEY FROM FORMULA COMPANIES
  • REGISTER NOW FOR THE 3RD WORLD BREASTFEEDING CONFERENCE – RIO DE JANEIRO, 11-15 NOVEMBER 2019
ICDC OFFERS FREE COPIES OF “BREAKING THE RULES, STRETCHING THE RULES” TO CELEBRATE IBFAN’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY
(Left) Precursor of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes: Statement and recommendations developed from the 1979 Joint WHO/UNICEF Meeting on Infant and Young Child Feeding. After participating in that meeting, several NGOs decided to form IBFAN to continue to monitor marketing practices of baby food companies. (Right) Breaking the Rules 2017 is based on results of worldwide continuous monitoring.

IBFAN is one of the longest-surviving single-issue organisations, and it was founded on 12th October, 1979 after the joint meeting of WHO and UNICEF on Infant and Young Child Feeding. The groups that formed IBFAN were instrumental in putting the aggressive and unethical marketing of baby foods on the public health agenda, which led to the drafting of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the adoption of it by the World Health Assembly in 1981.

To celebrate IBFAN’s 40th anniversary,
ICDC offers FREE soft copies of the “Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules” (the BTR)– a compilation of marketing practices from around the world that violate the International Code from 2014 to 2017. Collected from IBFAN’s regional and country groups and volunteers, it contains almost 800 legally-vetted entries on 28 companies from 79 countries. 
*Offer period: 31 May to 30 June, 2019.

[Read more]

IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES ALL-TIME BEST-SELLER “PROTECTING INFANT HEALTH: A HEALTH WORKER’S GUIDE” 

The interaction between health workers and pregnant women and mothers are special and delicate as trust is placed in health workers for the professional knowledge and care they provide. Thus, health workers are often used by companies as prime channel for promotion due to this close interaction. That trust is often violated when health workers are not aware of the subtle ways in which marketing works, and how they are exploited by companies.The 12th edition of Protecting Infant Health: A Health Worker’s Guide to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is a handy guide on the International Code to help health workers navigate these difficult terrains and provide clear guidance on what should and should not be done by health workers according to the International Code, in the spirit of protecting breastfeeding and optimal infant and young child feeding.

[Read more]

IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES THE CHINESE ANNOTATED COMPILATION OF CODE AND WHA RESOLUTIONS

Breastfeeding rates in China are low and ever declining, the current exclusive breastfeeding rate is at 19%, and continued breastfeeding rate is 8%. 4 out of every 5 children in China are denied the full benefits of breastfeeding. It is not a coincidence that China also has the largest market in the world for formula milk products. Valued at $17,783 million, it accounted for 46% of milk formula market in 2015, and is forecasted to increase by 100% by 2019. In 2016, China took a big retrogressive step by repealing its 1995 law (which was weak to begin with) without any replacement, thus eliminating all forms of legal protection from inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes. All facts point to the dire urgency for China to implement the International Code (and relevant WHA resolutions), which have also led IBFAN-ICDC to launch 际母乳代用品销售守则及世界卫生大会相关决议: 汇编和注释 – the Chinese version of the Annotated Compilation of Code and WHA Resolutions, with the support from UNICEF EAPRO.

INTERVIEW WITH ICDC DIRECTOR ANNELIES ALLAIN “PIONEER OF THE INTERNATIONAL CODE OF MARKETING OF BREASTMILK SUBSTITUTES” FEATURED IN THE JOURNAL OF HUMAN LACTATION
Director of IBFAN-ICDC Annelies Allain has been at the forefront of global efforts to support and promote breastfeeding for more than 30 years.
Published in December 2018 in the Journal of Human Lactation, Annelies Allain: Pioneer of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is an in-depth interview conducted by Maryse Arendt that covers not only the history of the International Baby Food Action Network (the “world’s first network”) and the International Code, but also how this battle against baby food corporations has never stopped – and public health and breastfeeding advocates continue to fight an old battle in the new world.

[Read more]
CODE TRAINING FOR MALAYSIAN BREASTFEEDING PEER COUNSELLORS
Training with children. These peer counsellors are multi—tasker mums and truly believe babies must come before business.
From 23- 24 February 2019, ICDC’s team comprising of our Director, Annelies Allain, Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Junior Legal Officer, Jane Tang were in Bangi, Selangor to provide training to members of the Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association (MBfPCA).  Noreen Fazila, Senior Assistant Director, from the Nutrition Department of the Ministry of Health gave a presentation on Code implementation in Malaysia.  The participants of this training comprised of mothers and health professionals, including trainers from MBfPCA. They are all passionate about breastfeeding and keen to learn more about the Code and how it could improve their role as peer counsellors.

[Read more]
ICDC CONSULTANTS IN TIMOR-LESTE FOR A SECOND VISIT TO PROMOTE CODE IMPLEMENTATION
Timor Leste ready to give effect to the International Code to protect breastfeeding.
Subsequent to the first visit in November 2018, ICDC consultants made a second visit to Dili, Timor-Leste from 11 to 15 February. The purpose of the mission was to provide technical support to the government and UNICEF on giving effect to the International Code in ways that fit the social, economic, political and legislative framework of Timor-Leste. The mission included a capacity building workshop.

[Read more]
ICDC KICKING OFF THE NEW YEAR IN DHAKA BANGLADESH
Grand finale of the Code training.
Invited by IBFAN’s country group in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF), ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Dhaka to provide training on the implementation and monitoring of the Bangladesh BMS Act (Act No. 35 of 2013) from 20 to 22 January, 2019. 13 years after the last visit, ICDC was delighted to be invited to train on a revised, better and stronger law; one which WHO/UNICEF and IBFAN classified as a “Category 1” law – which means, the 2013 BMS Act, read together with its 2017 Regulations, has managed to fulfil most international recommendations. Participants of the training consisted of BBF Health Workers and Programme Managers, as well as officials from the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN). An online monitoring tool was developed at the end of the training to make reporting more convenient for monitors as well as for BBF to share data with relevant government agencies.

[Read more]
25 COUNTRIES ISSUE ALERTS AND WITHDRAWALS OF CONTAMINATED RICE-BASED FORMULAS AND BABY FOODS
Powdered infant formulas are NOT sterile products.
Packaged baby milk and foods in powder form are not sterile products and can become contaminated by harmful bacteria during the production process. Many parents, care-givers and health professionals are aware that the water used to prepare powdered infant and follow-up formulas and cereals may be contaminated by bacteria. But few are aware that bacteria such as Salmonella, Enterobacter/ Cronobacter sakazakii and Bacillus cereus can be introduced during the manufacturing stages of these highly-processed products. These bacteria thrive in warm milk and can multiply rapidly when the powder is mixed with warm water, causing serious illness in infants and young children. Even though all labels of powdered formulas must include texts to warn that these are not sterile products, whether they are milk-based, rice-based or soy-based; the reality is that very few manufacturers include the warning or labels or instructions for preparation to reduce the risk to infant health. Also, sometimes it takes a while to make the connection between the contaminated products and cases of food poisoning in infants and young children. By the time there are official alerts and recalls, many babies would have fallen ill already.
Through the years, IBFAN has diligently kept and updated a global
Recall List  of baby food products.  While the new WHO advice only mentions powdered infant formula, the IBFAN recall list shows that other powdered products are also concerned by potential contamination, and thus also includes alerts about withdrawals and recalls of other powdered milks and cereal products consumed by older babies.


[Read more]
THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL (BMJ) DROPS THE BABY FORMULA INDUSTRY
As one of the oldest and best-known peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, this decisions is a huge step forward and hopefully will have ripple effect on other medical associations, medical research institutes, health professional organisations, and health professionals.
Closely following the footsteps of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) for turning away sponsorship from formula companies, it was announced on 18th March, 2019 that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and their sister publications will no longer publish advertisements from baby formula companies. It states, “BMJ has recently been reminded of the substantial harms caused by promotion of breastmilk substitutes and the biases introduced into research and clinical practice by industry influence. After decades of advertising breast milk substitutes to readers of The BMJ, we have decided it is time to stop.”

[Read more]
THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PAEDIATRICS AND CHILD HEALTH DECIDES TO TURN AWAY MONEY FROM FORMULA COMPANIES
This is a significant step as the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world.
In February 2019, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Council announced that it has decided to no longer accept any funding from formula milk companies, and reiterated their commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding. This decision is long-awaited as the RCPCH has long been under the scrutiny of public health and breastfeeding advocates for accepting funding from baby food companies. In fact, a group of child health experts from WHO questioned RCPCH’s integrity and impartiality for accepting funding from industry, “acceptance of funding or other incentives, however conditional, creates a sense of obligation and loyalty to the company in question. This is exactly what health professional associations, including the RCPCH, should avoid.”

[Read more]
REGISTER NOW FOR THE 3RD WORLD BREASTFEEDING CONFERENCE – RIO DE JANEIRO, 11-15 NOVEMBER 2019
This is a significant step as the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world.

IBFAN, with the support of the Government of Brazil and public universities proudly host the Third World Breastfeeding Conference (3rd WBC) and the First World Complementary Feeding Conference (1st WCFC) together with the XV Brazilian Breastfeeding Meeting (XV ENAM) and the V Brazilian Healthy Complementary Feeding Meeting (V ENACS) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 11 to 15 November 2019. These meetings will be preceded by the “Thousand Mothers Breastfeeding” promotion mass media event, on the 11th November. The Conference will call for committed action and provide a platform for breastfeeding advocates, governments, scientists, civil society organizations, UN agencies, international organizations, research institutions, public interest groups, students, community health care workers, and other stakeholders to discuss and share experiences.

[Read more]

Updated Quick and Easy Form & Latest Code Monitoring Reports
IBFAN-ICDC collects Code violations globally. Through the user-friendly Online Monitoring Form and Phone App, violations and practices that undermine breastfeeding are sent to the centralised database. We have recently updated the Quick and Easy Monitoring Forms, they are now available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.

The materials are then analysed and written up as monitoring reports that can be accessed by the public. View Code Monitoring Reports  and other Thematic Monitoring Reports
Smart & Easy Monitoring
About IBFAN-ICDC
With a focus on implementation of the International Code worldwide, IBFAN-ICDC was founded in 1985.

IBFAN-ICDC

  • organised over close to 70 Code training courses from 1991 to 2018, trained over 2020 government officials and NGO workers from 148 countries
  • training had a positive impact on Code implementation in 79 of these countries
  • collects, analyses, and evaluates national laws and codes and other regulatory measures
  • conducts Code monitoring
  • periodically publishes handbooks and guidelines on Code implementation; State of the Code by Country report, and various monitoring reports (See all publications)

Contact us for inquiries on Training Requests.

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