In 2021, the USBC hosted a three-part webinar series: Unpacking Commercial Milk Formula Marketing: Communities, Contexts, and Impacts. This series marked the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and is part of an effort to create a shared understanding of commercial milk formula marketing practices and the disparate impact of marketing practices on communities in the U.S. and around the world. The sessions are available for viewing below.
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The U.S. plays a significant role in the global economy but has yet to adopt the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
In the first session of this series, Laurence Grummer-Strawn, MPA, MA, PhD and Rachel Crossley, MSc help us learn about the aggressive and unethical marketing of commercial milk formula that undermines efforts to improve breastfeeding. Dive into the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutions in this session, learn how to become an advocate for change, and discover how we can collectively take action to address today's global nutrition crisis.
Formula marketing impacts the provision of lactation support to communities with diverse needs, especially within communities of color.
In the second session of this series, Malaika Ludman, MPH, CLC presents an overview of how formula marketing practices impact communities in emergencies as well as the various tactics that formula companies use to appeal to consumers, healthcare workers, health systems, and policy makers. Dr. Kimarie Bugg, DNP, FNP-BC, MPH, IBCLC explains how important breastfeeding representation is in the Black community and Lourdes Santaballa, MS, IBCLC, IYCFS takes us through the WHO Code in the context of Puerto Rico and local disasters.
What opportunities for collective work are there to influence policy on commercial milk formula marketing?
In this third and final session in the series, Sally Mancini, MPH, presents research from the Rudd Center on infant formula and toddler milk marketing in the United States, demonstrating that deceptive formula marketing continues after infancy. To better understand formula labeling issues and explain how the government can and cannot help with these Code violations, Jennifer Pomeranz, JD, MPH, brings a unique expertise as a Juris Doctor to this discussion. Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, concludes this presentation with information about what advocacy levers we can use to take action now.
On April 29, 2022, the World Health Organization launched a new report on the scope and impact of digital marketing to promote breast-milk substitutes. In this presentation, we learn about online exploitive tactics used by the formula milk industry and how these behaviors influence the feeding decisions that today's parents make.
The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes was adopted as the Code on May 21, 1981, following its introduction at the 33rd World Health Assembly in May 1980. It was developed as part of a collaboration between the WHO and UNICEF to improve the health and nutrition of infants and young children. Previously, in 1974 at the 27th World Health Assembly, the decline in breastfeeding related to different factors, including the production of manufactured breast-milk substitutes, was addressed. Since adopting the International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes, Member countries have been urged to review sales promotion activities on baby foods and introduce appropriate remedial measures, including advertisement codes and legislation.
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