NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

The World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions (the WHO Code)

Patricia McVeagh

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 16(4) 67 - 68 Published: 2005

  • Citation

  • PDF

About the author/s

Patricia McVeagh

Abstract

This article describes the World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and its subsequent
resolutions, how Australia is meeting its responsibilities under the Code and how this can contribute to the health
of Australian infants. Commonly known as the WHO Code, the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes was adopted in May
1981 by 118 nations. It is auspiced by the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its focus is the
provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants. Resolution World Health Assembly 34.22 stresses that the adoption and adherence to the Code ‘is a minimum requirement and only one of several important actions required in order to protect healthy practices in respect of infant and young child feeding’. In a country such as Australia, however, ‘safe and adequate’ infant nutrition is not a high enough standard; rather we should aim for ‘optimum’ infant nutrition.