2010 - 2011 Annual Report of the Advisory Panel on the marketing in Australia of Infant Formula (APMAIF)

Appendix D - the MAIF Agreement FAQ

Page last updated: 21 November 2011

The MAIF Agreement

What is it and what does it mean for you?

APMAIF Secretariat
Department of Health and Ageing
Mail Drop Point 802
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 6289 7358
Fax: (02) 6289 4235
Website: www.health.gov.au/apmaif

For a copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia incorporating The Infant Feeding Guidelines for Health Workers and other related information, visit the following website: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/PUBLICATIONS/synopses/dietsyn.htm


Background

Q. What is the MAIF Agreement?

A. It is the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers (MAIF) Agreement (1992).

The MAIF Agreement is a voluntary self regulatory code of conduct between manufacturers and importers of infant formula in Australia. It is Australia’s response to becoming a signatory to the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (WHO Code). It sets out the obligations of manufacturers and importers of infant formulas in Australia who are signatories to the Agreement and gives effect to the principles of the WHO Code.

Q. What is the aim of the MAIF Agreement?

A. The aim of the MAIF Agreement is to help ensure safe and adequate nutrition for infants:
  • through the protection and promotion of breastfeeding;
  • by ensuring the proper use of breast milk substitutes when they are necessary* on the basis of adequate information; and
  • through appropriate marketing and distribution.
*Note: The word ‘necessary’ is used here to include mothers who have made an informed choice to use breast milk substitutes.
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Q. What does the MAIF Agreement cover?

A. The MAIF Agreement covers the marketing in Australia of infant formulas by manufacturers and importers when such products are marketed or represented to be suitable for use as a partial or total replacement to breast milk.
In relation to products, the MAIF Agreement applies to:
  • Infant formula i.e. formula that is suitable for babies from birth (e.g. Starter, Stage 1 or All Ages infant formulas)
  • Follow-on formula i.e. formula that is suitable for babies from six to twelve moneths.
It also covers the quality and availability of such products and the provision of information concerning their use.

Q. Who is involved in the MAIF Agreement?

A. The MAIF Agreement was developed by the Australian Government, the infant formula industry, breastfeeding advocates and other stakeholders and was authorised in 1992 under the Trade Practices Act 1974. The infant formula manufacturers and importers who are signatories have voluntarily entered into the MAIF Agreement in the interests of the health and development of infants in Australia. The MAIF Agreement is not legally binding.

Q. Which organisations are involved in the MAIF Agreement?

A. The signatories to the MAIF Agreement are:
  • Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd;
  • Bayer Australia Ltd;
  • H J Heinz Company Australia Ltd;
  • Nestlé Australia Limited;
  • Nutricia Australia Pty Ltd; and
  • Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd.

The MAIF Agreement & the WHO Code

Q. What is the difference between the MAIF Agreement and the WHO Code?

A. The WHO Code applies to the marketing and related practices of the following products: breast milk substitutes including infant formula, other milk products, feeding bottles and teats and foods and beverages – including bottle-fed complementary foods, when marketed to be suitable for use as a partial or total replacement for breast milk. It also applies to retailers and health professionals.

The MAIF Agreement operates in Australia only and is Australia’s main response to becoming a signatory to the WHO Code. It applies to manufacturers and importers of formulas for infants up to 12 months of age. In this respect it differs from the WHO Code which only applies to infant formula up to the age of 6 months. The MAIF Agreement does not include other milk products, foods, beverages or feeding bottles and teats. The activities of retailers of infant formula are excluded from the MAIF Agreement unless there is involvement by manufacturers or importers.

Further information including full details of the MAIF Agreement and APMAIF Annual Reports are available on the APMAIF website www.health.gov.au/apmaif.
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Work of the Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula (APMAIF)

Q. What does the APMAIF do?

A. The APMAIF’s terms of reference are to:
  • receive and investigate complaints regarding the marketing in Australia of infant formulas;
  • act as a liaison point for issues relating to the marketing in Australia of infant formulas;
  • develop guidelines on the interpretation and application of the MAIF Agreement; and
  • provide advice to the Australian Government Minister for Health and Ageing, on the operation of the Agreement.

Complaints

Q. Who can lodge a complaint?

A. Anyone can lodge a complaint about an alleged breach of the MAIF Agreement.

Complaints should be submitted on an APMAIF Complaint Form which can be downloaded from the APMAIF website www.health.gov.au/apmaif. You will need to provide the following information:
  • Details of the product and the company that promoted the product.
  • If relevant, the title of the material and the date of publication.
  • Date when the alleged breach was identified.
  • Where and how the material was obtained.
  • A brief description of the complaint, itemising specific claims and issues.
  • The section/s of the MAIF Agreement alleged to be breached (if known).
  • Details of any attempts to resolve the matter with the company involved.
  • Supporting data for medically and scientifically based complaints, if available.
  • A photocopy or original of the relevant promotional material.
  • Your contact details and signature.
If these criteria are not met the APMAIF may return the complaint for further information.

Send your complaints to the APMAIF Secretariat – contact details on front cover

The Panel Members

The APMAIF has five members and is a non-statutory body appointed by the Australian Government to monitor the MAIF Agreement.

Independent Chair – Ms Venessa Tripp
Appointed as Chair of the APMAIF in March 2008, Ms Tripp is the principal of her own executive coaching business, with expertise in leadership, communication and dealing with stakeholders.

Member with legal expertise – Prof Bill Lane
Appointed to the Panel in January 2009, Prof Lane is the Clayton Utz Professor of Public Law at the Queensland University of Technology.

Industry Representative – Ms Jan Carey
CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council Ltd (formerly the Infant Formula Manufacturers’ Association of Australia Inc) Ms Carey was nominated by the industry and appointed to the Panel in 2007.

Community & Consumer Representative – Ms Margaret Grove
Appointed to the Panel in January 2009, Ms Grove was National President of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) from 2006-2008 and has been a breastfeeding counsellor since 1983.

Public Health and Nutrition Expert – Associate Prof Heather Yeatman
Appointed to the Panel in January 2009, Prof Yeatman is Associate Professor in Public Health Nutrition at the School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong.