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Background

The “Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products, and Food Products for Infants & Young Children” (“the HK Code”) was issued by the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health on 13 June 2017.

The HK Code is voluntary in nature and it aims to protect breastfeeding and contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants and young children, based on adequate and unbiased information and through appropriate marketing. It was drafted by the Taskforce on Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, comprising representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organisations, healthcare organisations, and academia, with reference to the World Health Organization’s (“WHO”) International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and WHO’s relevant recommendations. Moreover, the HK Code has taken into account the latest local situation and views from various stakeholders collected during public consultation.

The HK Code is an integral part of a comprehensive strategy to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. In addition to the launching of the HK Code, a series of multi-faceted measures have been implemented in phases to strengthen professional support for breastfeeding in healthcare facilities; to strengthen public’s acceptance and support of breastfeeding; to support working mothers to sustain breastfeeding by encouraging the community to adopt breastfeeding friendly workplace policy; to promote and support breastfeeding in public places through promotion of breastfeeding friendly premises and provision of babycare facilities; and to strengthen the surveillance on local breastfeeding.

The HK Code promotes good marketing practices of formula milk and related products as well as food products for children below 36 months old. It provides guidance to relevant sectors including traders, healthcare workers and healthcare facilities, as well as childcare workers and childcare facilities that are involved in infants and young children nutrition.