Information for lodging complaints of alleged breaches of the MAIF Agreement

The following information is for lodging complaints of alleged breaches of the MAIF Agreement are intended to assist complainants.

Page last updated: April 2015

The MAIF Agreement

The MAIF Agreement is a voluntary self-regulatory code of conduct between the manufacturers and importers of infant formula in Australia. It is Australia’s response to the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 1981 (WHO Code). The MAIF Agreement applies to those Australian manufacturers and importers of infant formula who are signatories to the MAIF Agreement.

The MAIF Agreement aims to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use of breast milk substitutes, when they are necessary, on the basis of adequate information through appropriate marketing and distribution.

The marketing activities of retailers including pharmacies and supermarkets are outside the scope of the MAIF Agreement. Toddler milk products for toddlers over 12 months of age, and baby food, feeding bottles, teats and dummies are also outside the scope of the MAIF Agreement.

Who can lodge a complaint ?

Individuals, members of industry, community and consumer groups are able to lodge a complaint alleging a breach of the MAIF Agreement with the Department of Health.

What you should do before lodging a complaint ?

Whenever possible, complainants should contact the subject company or organisation prior to lodging a complaint with the Department, as a satisfactory explanation or solution may be immediately available.

Lodging a complaint

When lodging a complaint, the Department requires the complainant to complete an electronic version of the Complaint Form for each complaint. All fields of the Complaint Form should be completed before a complaint can be considered.

What happens to the complaint now there is no Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula (APMAIF) ?

On 8 November 2013, the APMAIF ceased to operate. Previously APMAIF monitored industry compliance with the MAIF Agreement. The Department of Health has worked with Industry to develop new arrangements to ensure the continued adherence of the MAIF Agreement. Industry approached St James Ethics Centre, an independent not-for-profit organisation, to develop and oversee an independent complaints model. The Centre prepared Terms of Reference to govern a new complaints model in consultation with the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) and the Department. The Centre consulted with key stakeholders on the proposed model to ensure the assessment process is transparent and accountable.

The new complaints process is now operational and a MAIF Complaints Tribunal panel has been appointed.

Complaints that fall within the scope of the MAIF Agreement will be referred to the new MAIF Complaints Tribunal for assessment and will be assessed as being ‘in breach’ or ‘not in breach’ of the MAIF Agreement. The Department continues to manage the receipt of complaints against the MAIF Agreement.

Where to send complaints

Department of Health
MDP 802 GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6289 7358
Email: Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula, Department of Health