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Let Them Choose © Fabien Touzard
pour Action contre la Faim

À la Une


Let Them Choose: A pact for responsible commercialization of formula milk

our petition

Under extreme living conditions – poverty, conflicts, lack of access to hygiene and safe water… – the use of formula milk instead of breast milk is an additional risk for children’s health.

Families must be able to choose how to feed their children, between breast milk and formula milk. However, for years, parents’ lack of information on the subject and aggressive marketing by manufacturers have aggravated the situation.

Accused in the 1970s of encouraging parental misinformation to sell more and more products, formula milk companies declare now working to comply with a code of good conduct proposed by the World Health Organization. This code provides a framework for commercialization and prohibits the marketing of formula milk.

Unfortunately, testimonies from the field, surveys and studies show that abusive practices persist: omnipresent advertising, messages idealizing products, gifts to families and doctors… These marketing practices influence parents’ decisions.

"Parents must be free to choose the food they want to give their children."
Coline Beytout
Advocacy Officer, Action Against Hunger

It is now crucial to speak up for these parents and to encourage companies to act quickly and concretely by joining a pact. The objective? That they demonstrate their willingness to improve rapidly their practices, by submitting to a concrete programme of progress, evaluated by NGOs specializing in child nutrition.

Sign this petition for responsible commercialization of formula milk. Help us give parents the freedom to make a choice.


Our initiative is to ask formula milk companies to join a pact, to demonstrate their willingness to improve their commitments and practices through rapidly achievable solutions and better transparency.

The 3 main criteria established are:

• Reinforced commitments: so that the internal policy of the companies adopts the requirements of the Code, considered as the minimum standard for the marketing of infant milks;

• Solutions that can be quickly implemented: for companies to adopt measures to quickly remedy problems of non-compliance with the Code;

• Better transparency in activities: which implies for example the publication of the content of activities carried out by companies on child nutrition, such as subsidies for training doctors, or partnerships with the Ministry of Health.

A first phase will take place from May to September 2018 to enjoin companies to commit to this pact. Three months after accession, companies are expected to share on their websites a timetable for adopting revisions to be put in place for their internal policies.

One year after accession, companies should be able to ensure that all the necessary conditions for an external audit with strict criteria are in place. The evaluation process will then be carried out on an ongoing basis on a more global scale involving other Action Against Hunger partner actors who are working on the subject.

The results will be made public, thus alerting any companies concerned to the lack of progress made. It will then be a warning, and in the extreme case, the withdrawal of their adherence to the Pact.

We hope that many other members of civil society will join us in pushing the private sector to improve its practices quickly.

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