Nestle SA, the world's largest supplier of infant formula, announced guidelines it will follow to comply with a United Nations code aimed at encouraging breast feeding.
The code was passed last May by the World Health Organization by a vote of 93 -3, with the United States among the nations voting against it.
The Reagan administration said it shared the code's goal of reducing infant illnesses said to be associated with misuse of infant formula--particularly in undeveloped nations--but said code conflicted with antitrust laws and was an unfair restriction on trade.
More than 20 countries have written specific laws to comply with the international advisory code, and Nestle said it would also voluntarily adhere to the measure in those countries that have not imposed it with statutes.
The code includes provisions prohibiting advertising and promotion gimmicks, restrictions on free samples, and a requirement that formula labels and accompanying information state the superiority of breast feeding. The instructions for mothers also warn against changing the ratio of powder to water. Backers of the code said some mothers diluted the formula because they did not have enough money to buy adequate supplies.