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Joint Statement On The Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

14th January 2016

Joint Statement from Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Save the Children on today's Access to Nutrition Index report on the marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Unicef UK and Save the Children welcome this report which puts much needed figures and hard data onto the global situation around the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, an industry worth $50bn in 2014 alone.

More than 800,000 babies die each year because they are not breastfed. Investigating inappropriate practices used to sell food and drink intended for babies is thus a matter of life and death. As the report states, all six companies in the report fall well short of the recommendations set out in the International Code* which is designed to protect and support breastfeeding and ensure the proper composition and use of all breastmilk substitutes.

It is now more than 30 years since the Code was first published, giving clear guidance on what is required to protect the life and health of every baby in the world. This report shows that the most any company managed was 36% compliance with the Code. In the context of more than 800,000 deaths per year, anything less than 100% compliance with a Code that seeks to protect vulnerable babies, is shameful.

We stand by the authors of the report who recommend that all companies assessed in this report need to improve their marketing practices and that governments have an obligation to legislate to implement the Code and then use monitoring and enforcement to effectively control the activities of the companies. Babies deserve nothing less.

*The Code refers to the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes