Table 1

Types of COI involving CMF companies—examples from scoping review18

COI themesExamples from scoping review18
1Financial or material support to health workers, facilities and training establishmentsHealth workers in Pakistan received gifts labelled with CMF company names or sponsorship for conferences or training.*
CMF companies funded professional development activities in the Americas, Asia and Europe.†
2Funding of medical researchNestlé sponsored research on hospitalised pre-term infants in India.‡
3Sponsorship of professional associations: events and generic financial supportCMF companies sponsored publications and websites in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe.†
A Royal College in the UK responsible for setting infant feeding policy and guidelines accepted funding from industry for activities related to ‘specialist’ formula.§
More than 90 food industry actors sponsored 88% of nutrition conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean between January 2018 and December 2019. Abbott and Nestlé were the most frequent sponsors.¶
4Advertising CMF products in professional journalsNeolacta Life Sciences, a BMS company, advertised their infant formula in the Journal of Neonatology, the official journal of the National Neonatology Forum of India.‡
5Sponsorship of breastfeeding promotion and support activitiesNestlé sponsored the Kartini Program in Indonesia, a government programme to train midwives to support mothers on exclusive breastfeeding.**
6Forging partnerships with governmentsDanone distributed CMF through a partnership with the Central Java government of Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. ††
  • *Salasibew M, Kiani A, Faragher B, Garner P. Awareness and reported violations of the WHO International Code and Pakistan's national breastfeeding legislation; a descriptive cross-sectional survey. International Breastfeed Journal 2008;3(24).

  • †Grummer-Strawn LM, Holliday F, Jungo KT, Rollins N. Sponsorship of national and regional professional paediatrics associations by companies that make breast-milk substitutes: evidence from a review of official websites. BMJ Open. 2019;9(8):e029035.

  • ‡Gupta A. Under Attack: A report of the monitoring the compliance with the Infant milk substitutes, Feeding bottles and Infant foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 1992 and the Amendment Act 2003. Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI); 2021.

  • §Hastings G, Angus K, Eadie D, Hunt K. Selling second best: how infant formula marketing works. Globalization and Health. 2020;16(1):77.

  • ¶Mialon M, Jaramillo Á, Caro P, Flores M, González L, Gutierrez-Gómez Y, et al. Involvement of the food industry in nutrition conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean. Public health nutrition. 2021;24(6):1559-65.

  • **IBFAN-ICDC. (2017). Breaking the Rules (BTR), Stretching the Rules 2017: Evidence of violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions, compiled from June 2014 to June 2017. IBFAN. http://www.babymilkaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/2017-BTR-2017sm.pdf

  • ††Ching C, Zambrano P, Nguyen T, Tharaney M, Zafimanjaka M, Mathisen R. Old Tricks, New Opportunities: How Companies Violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and Undermine Maternal and Child Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18:2381.

  • CMF, commercial milk formula; COI, conflict of interest.