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Medela's violation of the Who Code

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  • breastfeedingmatters
    Marsha Walker has given her permission to share this information about Medela s violation of the Who Code. Norma Ritter, IBCLC,RLC Breastfeeding Matters in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2009
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      Marsha Walker has given her permission to share this information about Medela's violation of the Who Code.

      Norma Ritter, IBCLC,RLC
      Breastfeeding Matters in the Capital Region

      Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 08:47:59 -0500
      From: marshalact@...
      Subject: Medela and the Code

      I have been receiving some emails asking about Medela and the Code as
      well as my role in Code issues. Medela as a manufacturer and
      distributor of products within the scope of the Code has a
      responsibility to market those products within the guidelines
      specified in the Code. They are permitted to sell the products, these
      products can be pictured on their website but the language describing
      the products must not idealize them. The products can be included in
      pump packages but cannot be pictured on the packaging. The following
      violations of the Code have been incurred by Medela:

      1. Direct advertising to the public in American Baby magazine with a
      feeding bottle and nipple pictured. The picture of the feeding bottle
      and artificial nipple is a violation of the International Code Article

      2. Pictures of feeding bottles and artificial nipples on the packaging
      of pumps or other equipment are a violation of the International Code
      Article 5.

      3. Language in the product description cannot idealize the use of the
      feeding bottle/nipple. Some of the materials intended for distribution
      to mothers contain language that idealizes the use of the
      bottle/nipple for feeding the baby in violation of Article 9.

      4. Since Medela is a manufacturer and distributor of products *bottles
      and nipples* that come under the scope of the Code, they may not seek
      contact (Article 5.5) direct or indirect with pregnant women or with
      mothers of infants and young children. Their recent contest giving
      away of glass bottles and their offer to sign up mothers for more
      give-aways violates the Code

      5. Their TV ad violates the Code with the picturing of the feeding
      bottles and nipples. I could not hear the sound so I don't know what
      was said about the feeding system

      I have been asked what my role is in Code issues and how can one
      person determine who is and isn't Code compliant. The National
      Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) and the Infant Feeding
      Action Coalition (INFACT) Canada as part of the IBFAN (International
      Baby Food Action Network) and representing IBFAN North America play a
      key role in the monitoring and reporting on Code violations for the
      purpose of assisting WHO, governments, professional bodies and
      manufacturers and distributors of products to take appropriate
      actions. I am the executive director of NABA, the US IBFAN
      organization. It is NABA's responsibility to receive and report on
      Code violations in the US, just as INFACT Canada does in Canada and
      Baby Milk Action does in the UK. It is also the responsibility of the
      IBFAN organizations to assist companies to become Code compliant. We
      do not declare a company in violation of the Code so we can be hired
      to fix them! The companies declare themselves in violation of the Code
      by their marketing actions of products covered under the Code.

      The Code can be imprecise at times and is silent on issues related to
      the Internet, mergers and acquisitions, and some of the finer points
      of marketing language. Decisions about some of the finer points of the
      Code are made in consultation with Betty Sterken at INFACT Canada and
      Joo Kean and Annalies Allain at the International Code Documentation
      Center (ICDC) in Penang. ICDC functions as Code Central and is the
      repository for all Code documentation and issues. Together we look at
      each suspected violation and endeavor to carefully interpret the
      Articles and subsequent resolutions of the Code that may apply. The
      criteria applied in assessing some of the finer points are how these
      situations protect or undermine breastfeeding, while recognizing that
      the International Code is a minimum standard.

      Pumps are not covered under the Code, so we may not like how pumps are
      being marketing but that does not violate the Code.

      Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
      Executive Director, NABA REAL
      Weston, MA
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