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.

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