Shortly thereafter, I received inquiries about how this could be considered a violation? What was the violation? Was it the mere selling of the feeding bottles and teats? The marketing?
To clarify, let’s review the Milk Code. Section 3 provides the scope of coverage or items to which the Milk Code is applicable:
SECTION 3 Scope of the Code – The Code applies to the marketing and practices related thereto, of the following products: breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, foods and beverages, including bottlefed complementary foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats. It also applies to their quality and availability, and to information concerning their use.
The Code clearly states that what is being regulated is the MARKETING (and not the selling) of the feeding bottles and teats. The Milk Code also specifies what are the prohibited acts involving marketing of these items and the portion relevant to this case is quoted below:
(c) There shall be no point-of-sale advertising, giving of samples or any other promotion devices to induce sales directly to the consumers at the retail level, such as special displays, discount coupons, premiums, special sales, bonus and tie-in sales for the products within the scope of this Code. This provision shall not restrict the establishment of pricing policies and practices intended to provide products at lower prices on a long-term basis.
Applicable to this case would be the prohibition on “special sales” or “discount coupons”. In the ad I pasted above, feeding bottles and teats are being sold at a discount –> a clear violation of the Milk Code. In the same way, any sale or promotion that the feeding bottles/teats are “Buy one, take one” or on “sale” or on reduced prices would amount to violation of the Code.
However, the mere selling of the covered items is NOT a violation. Neither is reducing the price of the bottles/teats. What is prohibited is promoting the “sale” price or the “reduced” price to entice the general public to buy. If you sell feeding bottles/teats, you are free to reduce the price – just don’t promote it as “SALE” – which is to induce sales directly to the consumers and is prohibited by the Code.
Questions? Leave a comment!
Update 24 April 2013:
Want to understand more how feeding bottles and teats violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes? Read this IBFAN article.