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CODE OF ETHICS IN MARKETING INFANT FOOD AND RELATED PRODUCTS

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INTRODUCTION

Breast milk is the best food for the baby where it contains all the requirements for optimal infant growth. However, the production of infant formula milk and aggressive promotion of breast milk replacement product by the manufacturers of Infant food can affect the confidence of mothers on breastfeeding their children. Various forms of marketing used by the formula milk industry such as misleading advertising, distribution of samples and free gifts as well as distribution of various articles and research to health professionals implying that milk substitute is “better or about similar to breast milk” can influence mothers and deters breastfeeding practices. Consequently, the implementation of the Code of Ethics is required to protect, support and promote breastfeeding practices through strict control of the marketing of baby food products and breastfeeding equipment for mothers.

Code of Ethics is produced with the cooperation of dairy industries operating in Malaysia. Code of Ethics for Infant Formula Milk Products was published in 1995 and amended 3rd time based on several requirement changes in line with the nation’s situation.

The latest edition of the book called the Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant Food and Related Products was launched on August 1, 2008 by the Honorary Minister of Health Dato’ Liow Tiong Lai.

OBJECTIVE

The Code of Ethics’ goal is to contribute to the promotion of safe and optimal nutrition for infants by protecting and promoting breastfeeding and ensuring the use of correct breast milk replacement products (if necessary) by providing adequate information using a controlled marketing and distribution method.

PUBLICATIONS
  • Book on Code of Ethics for Marketing Infant Food and Related Products
FURTHER INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Mrs. Siti Adibah Ab. Halim
sitiadibah_halim@moh.gov.my
03-88924464

ACTIVITIES

Among the activities carried out are:

  • Shortlisting and release of approval code to product information materials such as product labels as well as brochures and advertise for health professionals. Shortlisting is carried out by the Committee for shortlisting Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant Food and Related Products
  • Monitoring adherence to ethical practices by the milk industry and members as well as health professionals.
  • Exercising disciplinary action upon breach of Code of Ethics reported. Penalties depend on the level and frequency of the breach of Code of Ethics.

Any one or combination of the following penalties will apply:

  • Written warning with a copy to the parent company and the Chairman of the Committee of Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant Food and Related Products at state level.
  • Suspension of shortlisting of all new material for one to two years.
  • Notification to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
  • Notice to the International Association of Infant Food Producers
  • Issuing a press statement.
  • Blacklist companies by boycotting future tenders for them for a certain period of time

Training for the monitoring of Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant food and Related products

  • Training for the monitoring of Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant food and Related products was held on 18- 21 October 2009 at Crystal Crowne Hotel, Petaling Jaya. A total of 28 participants comprising of Nutrition Officers and Assistant Environmental Health Officers from each State attended the course