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Report a breach of the WHO Code

What is a WHO Code breach?

ABA is asking you to report breaches of the WHO Code in Australia. These are different to breaches of the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF) Agreement.  

The WHO Code has a much wider scope and by collecting breaches of the WHO Code we can see where the MAIF is failing to prevent unethical marketing. 

The collection of WHO Code breaches will be ongoing to determine the nature and extent of these breaches in Australia.  



How do I know if what I’ve seen is a breach?

The following minimum criteria must be met for your report to constitute a breach. The example must be both a product covered by the WHO Code and an activity prohibited by the WHO Code.  

A product covered by the WHO Code 

  • A breastmilk substitute which includes any milks (or products that could be used to replace milk such as fortified soy milk), which are specifically marketed for feeding children up to the age of 3 years, including follow-up formula and growing-up milks.  

  • Feeding bottles and teats.  

  • A food product recommended as suitable for babies under 6 months  (when exclusive breastmilk feeds are recommended).  


An activity prohibited by the WHO Code

  • Pictures or text that idealise the use of breastmilk substitutes (including health claims).  

  • Companies attempting to have direct or indirect contact with pregnant women and mothers of babies and young children. This includes any type of advertising, discount promotions, special displays, parenting exhibition stalls, samples, gifts, and sponsorship of parenting clubs (including online).  

  • Any provision of free samples of breastmilk substitutes to pregnant women and mothers of babies and young children.  

  • Displays, posters or other promotions of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats in health facilities.  

  • Parent education provided or sponsored by manufacturers or distributors of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats.  

  • Financial inducements given to healthcare workers to explicitly promote products covered by the WHO Code. This includes sponsorship and other financial or in-kind inducements (such as, free or low-cost training, travel or meals) which may represent a conflict of interest for healthcare workers.  

  • Free or discounted products for use in health facilities or healthcare work training facilities (these facilities should procure products through appropriate channels).  

  • The calculation of bonuses from sales of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and/or teats. 


Do I need to provide an image or photo for the report?

There is an option to upload a photo or image of a breach, but this is not a requirement.  

It is important to note that photos cannot be provided if they have been taken in a private place. This includes a workplace with restricted access (e.g. inside a doctor's office or in a private training session).  

However, images or photos can be provided as screenshots of digital advertising, photos of print advertisements and photos of the contents of ‘goodie’ bags. Photos can also be provided if they are taken with permission or if they are taken in a public place (e.g. baby exhibition, pharmacy, grocery store, shop, billboard or lobby reception area). 

What will happen when I report a breach?

The information you provide will be analysed by our staff and volunteers to determine if the breach you report is an example of a WHO Code breach, a MAIF breach, or both. It will also determine if it is not a breach.

We will use this information to generate reports detailing our findings on formula milk marketing in Australia and how it compares to the international reports released by WHO and UNICEF on the impact of formula milk marketing on feeding decisions and on the scope and impact of digital marketing.

No identifying information is collected when you report a breach. If you would like to stay up to date on the project please click here to sign up.