Australia’s marketing and advertising code is called the MAIF Agreement, a voluntary self-regulatory local adaptation of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (1981). MAIF is an acronym for “Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas” and sets out the appropriate way in which breast milk substitutes (specifically infant formula from 0-12 months) can be marketed.
The aim of the MAIF Agreement is to ensure safe and optimal nutrition is provided to babies at all times. This means the protection and promotion of breastfeeding as the ideal source of nutrition for all babies, and the proper use of infant formula, as the only safe and suitable alternative if breast milk is not available to a baby.
Under the MAIF Agreement, infant formula manufacturers and importers who are signatories have committed to very specific ways of marketing these products and providing information. This explains why you may find there is not a large amount of information on labels and even throughout this website available directly to consumers. The types of information infant formula manufacturers provide on the label of products are things such as:
- Ingredients list
- Nutrition Information Panel
- Preparation instructions
- Safe handling of baby formula, including how to sterilise baby bottles
- What protein source is used
- Storage instructions
Infant formula manufacturers and importers provide detailed information to health care professionals, to enable them to help you make an informed decision about the most appropriate feeding options for your baby. We would encourage you to consult the expertise of your health care professional for individual advice.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breast milk is best for babies and provides ideal nutrition. Good maternal nutrition is important for the preparation and maintenance of breastfeeding. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breastfeeding and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Professional advice should be followed on infant feeding. Infant formula should be prepared and used exactly as directed or it could pose a health hazard. The preparation requirements and cost of providing infant formula until 12 months of age should be considered before making a decision to formula feed.