Promotions of baby food by manufacturing companies are violating the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, according to the Malaysian Breastfeeding Information Centre (PPPIM).

The PPPIM has urged the Malaysian government to curb such promotions, responding to a report recently published by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and released at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Through a survey of 14 countries, the report identified 17 companies that are violating the Code by using aggressive marketing approaches for their products.

"One tactic that has seen an alarming resurgence is the donations of free samples or supplies of baby products to healthcare facilities," said Siti Norjinah Moin, director of PPPIM. He also pointed out that such promotion is a lucrative business, as 93% of mothers continued to use the baby food brand they became familiar with in health care centres while pregnant.

The Code was adopted in 1981, the result of consultation between the member countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO).