Infant formula companies claim to support breastfeeding and implementation of the Milk Code (EO 51). But data from the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) show that they have been violating the Milk Code.
From July 2001 to December 2004, a total of 63 violations of the Milk Code were recorded:
* The most common violation was the distribution of print ads without approval by the Inter-agency Committee (43% of violations)
* The number of violations increased from 11 in 2003 to 19 in 2004.
* The highest number of violations recorded was in 2002, with 22 violations.
* Other types of violations included: using the health care system to promote breastmilk substitutes; improper use of materials; product display; giving gifts of any sort to the public; giving samples to the public; putting up streamers in conventions; publishing print ads of infant formula; putting a false cover on magazines; and, raffle promo.
Unfortunately, I only have data up to 2004. It would be interesting to see the data up to present. Did the situation improve or worsen with the issuance of an indefinite temporary restraining order on the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Milk Code?
I can't wait until we are able to screen the documentary on Milk Code violations entitled "Formula for Disaster" (see my boss's post below). When I first saw it, I was enraged to see so many mothers in urban and rural poor communities completely convinced that powdered milk will make their babies healthier and smarter. Midwives and barangay health workers themselves sound like sales representatives for milk companies, touting the beneficial ingredients of this or that product.
It must be good business to sell powdered milk to the poor, who can ill afford them, much less the additional health costs that they will incur. I wish the milk company executives would visit these communities and see the dismal conditions in which their products are being prepared, and the disastrous results on children -- malnutrition, sickness, death.
Promoting powdered milk to these families should be considered downright criminal and immoral.