Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF) Complaints Committee

The MAIF Complaints Committee responds to complaints made against manufacturers or importers of infant formulas who have signed the MAIF Agreement. Anyone can make a complaint if they believe a member organisation has breached the agreement.

Role 

The MAIF Complaints Committee assesses complaints made against organisations who have signed the MAIF Agreement. The agreement is a voluntary code of conduct for manufacturers and importers of infant formula in Australia. Signatories must not promote infant formula.  

The committee has developed guidance documents and provides advice to the Australian Government on interpreting and applying the agreement. 

Read the committee’s terms of reference. 

Members

Member 

Background and experience 

Declarations of interest 

Debra Thoms – Independent representative (Chair) 

Former Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for the Australian Government 

Accepted invitation from Food Standards Australian New Zealand to chair an Independent Expert Panel on the possible addition of 2′-O-fucosyllactose (2′-FL) alone or in combination with Lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT), produced by microbial fermentation, in infant formula products and formulated supplementary foods for young children. 

Declared May 2020 

Jane Scott – Public health representative 

Former Deputy Head of the School of Public Health at Curtin University. 

Recipient of an Australian Government Department of Health, Child and Youth health grant to trial ‘Milk Man’, a breastfeeding app for fathers from rural and remote Western Australia. 

Co-investigator on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant led by the University of Queensland. 

Chair of the recently formed Australian Breastfeeding Association WHO Code Taskforce. 

Declared October 2021 

Jan Carey – Industry representative 

Chief Executive Officer of the Infant Nutrition Council and Executive of the Governing Board for the International Special Dietary Food Industries Association  

Nil interests declared. 

 

Meetings 

The committee meets as required, based on complaint submissions. 

Making a complaint 

If you believe a company has breached the MAIF Agreement contact the company in the first instance, as they might work on a solution.  

If you are not satisfied with the company’s response: 

See our guidance documents for help understanding the MAIF Agreement.  

Assessment process 

The secretariat registers all complaints received and sends them to the committee.  

The committee: 

  • reviews the complaint to determine whether it is in scope 

  • advises companies of complaints received  

  • invites the company to give a formal response within 4 weeks 

  • assesses the response 

  • advises both the company and complainant of the final decision 

  • publishes a high-level summary of the outcome. 

See a flowchart of the complaints handling process.  

If the outcome is out of scope, the committee advises the complainant of the finding and takes no further action. 

Complaint outcomes 

The MAIF Complaints Committee publishes all outcomes: 

Complaint

Outcome

2122-01

Received on 1 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) relating to the promotion of infant formula products through a retailers Instagram page.

The committee considered this complaint in February 2022 and determined it not a breach of clause 5(a) as retailer activity is not in scope of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-02

Received on 12 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) relating to the promotion of infant formula products by a retailer. 

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and determined it not a breach of clause 5(a) as retailer activity is not in scope of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-03

Received on 14 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) and 9(b) relating to the promotion of infant formula and follow-on formula on the label of the product.

The committee considered this complaint at their meeting in October 2021 and determined this not a breach of clause 5(a) as the advertisement is on the back of the tin and not the front. The complaint is out of scope for clause 9(b) as wording on labelling is not mandated by the MAIF Agreement.

2122-04 The LittleOak Company

Received on 19 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with posts on the company’s social media accounts featuring a customer review promoting infant formula and the listing of hashtags directed at the public.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) the MAIF Agreement.

2122-05 The LittleOak Company

Received on 19 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with an Instagram post promoting infant formula products and using hashtags to promote products to the public.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-06 The LittleOak Company

Received on 19 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with an Instagram post with general promotion of use of infant formula where the company replied to a customer’s comment on the post regarding infant formula.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined that it is a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-07 The LittleOak Company

Received on 20 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with social media posts promoting infant formula using a tagline.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February 2022 and July 2022. The Committee determined that this post was a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-08

Received on 20 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with retailer social media posts promoting infant formula.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it not a breach of clause 5(a) as retailer activity is not in scope of the MAIF Agreement.

 

2122-09 The LittleOak Company

Received on 20 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with promotion of infant formula on the company’s social media platforms.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-10 The LittleOak Company

Received on 24 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with promotion of infant formula in a video on the company’s social media platforms.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2021-11 The LittleOak Company

Received on 24 July 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with promotion of infant formula on social media platforms.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement as it contained a written refence to ‘baby formula’.

2122-12 The LittleOak Company

Received on 24 July 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 5(a) and 5(d) with promotion of infant formula products through a third-party Instagram page, including a question-and-answer session with a LittleOak company representative.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined that it was a breach of clauses 5(a) and 5(d) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-13 The LittleOak Company

Received on 27 July 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with the promotion of infant formula on the company’s Facebook page via customer testimonial.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined that the Facebook post was a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-14

Received on 27 July 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with the promotion of infant formula through a retailer.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined it not a breach of clause 5(a) as retailer activity is not in scope of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-15 The LittleOak Company

Received on 27 July 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with promotion of infant formula on the company’s Instagram page.

The committee considered this complaint in October 2021 and again in February and July 2022 and determined that the Instagram post was a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.  

2122-16

Received on 17 November 2021 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) claiming promotion of infant formula products in a retail setting.

The committee considered this complaint in February 2022 and determined that this complaint is out of scope of the MAIF Agreement as the company are not a signatory to the agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

2122-17

Received on 21 November 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 7(a) and 7(c) with an online seminar to health professionals showing alleged promotional information including a competition.

The committee considered this complaint in February 2022 and determined it not a breach, as the seminar and competition were within the guidelines of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-18 and 2122-28 to 2122-34 Sprout Organic

8 complaints received between 28 March 2022 and 2 April 2022 alleging breaches of clause 5(a) with promotion and advertising to customers on Facebook that infant formula is back in stock, including promotional phrases.

The committee considered these complaints in July 2022 and determined them a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement.

2122-19

Received on 28 March 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with the promotion of infant formula to the general public through targeted, sponsored Facebook advertisements.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

 

2122-20

Received on 28 March 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 4(a) and 4(b) stating that the click-through acknowledgement on the company webpage is not adequate.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

 

2122-21

Received on 28 March 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 5(a) and 5(c) with a promotion to win a prize when purchasing any of the company’s products.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

2122-22

Received on 28 March 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 4(a), 4(b), 5(a) and 5(b) with direct marketing to the general public through Facebook, offering samples of products.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

2122-23 Sprout Organic

Received on 29 March 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 5(a) and 6(c) with an advertisement of the entire range of products including infant formula.

The committee considered this complaint in July 2022 and determined it a breach of clauses 5(a) and 6(c) as it included images of infant formula product.

2122-24 Sprout Organic

Received on 29 March 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with cross marketing references to 0 years old alongside images of 12+ toddler milk products on Facebook.

The committee considered this complaint in July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement due to the age reference in the text.

2122-25 Sprout Organic

Received on 29 March 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with a Facebook post containing an image of children holding a tin of infant formula.

The committee considered this complaint at their meeting in July 2022 and determined that the post was in breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement as the tin colour is identifiable as infant formula. The committee did however agree that the children in the image were older than 12 months of age which does adhere to the MAIF Agreement.

2122-26 Sprout Organic

Received on 29 March 2022 and alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with a Facebook post promoting the company’s Black Friday Sale with an image of infant formula product identifiable in the advertisement.

The committee considered this complaint in July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement as the infant formula product is identifiable by the tin colour.

2122-27 Sprout Organic

Received on 29 March 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with a Facebook post that the company shared of a customer testimonial about their infant formula product.

The committee considered this complaint at their meeting in July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement due to Sprout Organic sharing and commenting on the post.

2122-36 Sprout Organic

Received on 10 April 2022 alleging a breach of clause 5(a) with targeted sponsored Facebook advertisements showing infant formula products.

The committee considered this complaint in July 2022 and determined it a breach of clause 5(a) of the MAIF Agreement due to the advertisement containing images of infant formula products.

2122-38

Received on 27 April 2022 alleging a breach of clauses 4 and 5 with a Facebook advertisement promoting infant formula products with an offer of free samples.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

2122-39

Received on 17 May 2022 and alleged a breach of clause 7(a) with an advertisement in an online newsletter promoting the new product and offering samples.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

2122-40

Received on 28 June 2022 and alleging breach of clauses 4(a), 4(b), 5(a) and 7(a) with advertisements directly to the general public through targeted Instagram posts and use of an Instagram influencer.

The committee considered this complaint and determined that it was out of scope as the company is not a signatory to the MAIF Agreement. The company has been invited to sign the MAIF Agreement.

Contact

Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF) Complaints Committee secretariat

Contact us for information about the MAIF Complaints Committee or to lodge a complaint about a participant in the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement.
Last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.