Laos adopts landmark decree to protect mothers and children against marketing of breastmilk substitutes

Laos has adopted its first legal measure to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS), joining many ASEAN countries by doing so.

The decree, “On Food Products and Feeding Equipment for Infants and Toddlers,” was signed by the Prime Minister, a result of years of advocacy and technical assistance from partners including A&T. Together with UNICEF, A&T has been supporting the drafting of the decree since 2017.

The scope of the decree includes infant formula as well as follow-on formula, “growing-up” milks, and “toddler formula” for children up to 36 months of age, following the recommendations of World Health Assembly Resolution 69.9.

The decree also includes guidance on labelling breastmilk substitutes, prohibitions on actions that create conflicts of interest with health workers, as well as other safeguards based on the International Code, similar legal measures in the ASEAN region, and the country’s own experience with harmful BMS marketing.

Press release: Lao PDR adopts the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes Decree to protect and promote breastfeeding. (pdf)

Laos BMS history