The Observer, Sunday 24 February 2013
Several of the world's leading food companies are breaching an industry code limiting the promotion of breast milk substitutes to mothers with babies under six months old, according to a new report by a leading aid charity.
A survey for Save the Children found that care professionals in Pakistan were being targeted by breast milk substitute companies. The charity said it had also found evidence of "questionable marketing practices" in China.
Research firm Gallup interviewed 2,400 mothers and 1,200 health workers across Pakistan and found that a third of all available information relating to infant feeding was sponsored by commercial companies, in violation of the Interagency Group on Breastfeeding Monitoring code. The code was agreed in 1981 following widespread concern about the promotion of baby milk formula in the developing world.
Gallup reported: "Many items were giving misleading information and were promoting bottle-feeding in some ways. The findings suggest that the code is being violated in significant ways by companies in Pakistan, which try to influence mothers through interpersonal communication, advertisements and endorsement by health professionals."