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Baby milk labels in the Philippines 2006

See our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet, November 2006, about the international campaign to counter the baby food industry attack on the Philppines government's new marketing regulations.

The following products were purchased in the Philippines in November 2006.

While labels have to contain a prominent message saying 'Breastmilk is best for babies up to two years old' under existing regulations, companies undermine this with prominent messages claiming the formula contains "Brain Building Blocks" (Nestlé, right) and other health claims.

Click on images for larger versions.

See the Campaigns Coordinator's blog for additional comments on these labels.

Nestlé Nestogen formula 2006

The 'Important Notice' saying breastmilk is best for babies is undermined by Nestlé's additional text:

"Nestogen 1 is a starter formula made specially to meet the needs of infants 0 to 6 months old. It provides all the vitamins and minerals needed by the young infant. Plus, it is now improved with:

"DHA - Experts recognize DHA as essential for brain development and good vision."

This is a cheaper formula for the mass market.


Nestlé Nestogen Philippines 2006

Other companies make similar claims about these ingredients, known as Long Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs), but they are not substantiated by reputable evidence. Click here for information on the Cochrane Library's comprehensive review of the rearch carried out.

Something else striking with the Nestlé label is the feeding table . Nestlé told Baby Milk Action during national demonstrations in May 2003 that it would comply with World Health Assembly Resolutions setting out the appropriate age of use for complementary foods. Since 1994 the Assembly has said this should be fostered from about 6 months of age, that is exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age. The Nestogen feeding table suggests introducing its 'New Improved Nestlé Baby Food' in the 5th or 6th month. That is from as young as 4 months of age - the age of a baby at the start of its 5th month.

Abbott's Similac Advance (an idealizing name in itself) claims it is an 'IQ nutrition system'.

Similac Philippines 2006

Mead Johnson's Enfapro 2 claims it contains 'Brain Nutrients DHA/ARA' and has an idealising cartoon image.

Enfamil Philippines 2006

While Mead Johnson's Alacta also claims to have 'brain nutrients', 'Fibre-cal' and sports an idealizing cartoon image, its main ingredient is 'corn syrup solids' not milk.
Alacta Philippines 2006

Nestlé promotes its so-called 'hypoallergenic' formula in the Philippines - a health claim it is not allowed to make in the US and Canada following decisions of the regulatory authorities and legal action brought on behalf of infants who had suffered allergic reaction to the formula.

It claims to have 'Protect Plus' ingredients. It says on the back:

"Nan HA 2 provides your baby with all nutrients esential for optimal physical and mental development. Thanks to Protect Plus (TM), a unique combination of protective ingredients, it also helps to modulate your baby's natural immune defenses and to reduce the risk of allergy in the critical period of weaning."

Nestlé has also enlarged its bird logo into an idealizing image.

Nestlé Nan 2 Philippines 2006

Milks for older babies are also promoted with health claims.

The regulations under attack cover all foods used up to two years of age.

Nestlé bear Philippines 2006

Nestlé bear Philippines 2006

Cochrane Library on Long Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA)

"At present there is little evidence from randomised trials of LCPUFA supplementation to support the hypothesis that LCPUFA supplementation confers a benefit for visual or general development of term infants. Minor effects on VEP [visual evoked potentials] acuity have been suggested but appear unlikely when all studies are reviewed. A beneficial effect on information processing is possible but larger studies over longer periods are required to conclude that LCPUFA supplementation provides a benefit when compared with standard formula. Data from randomised trials do not suggest that LCPUFA supplements influence the growth of term infants."


The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006 Issue 4.
Date of last Subtantial Update: June 15. 2001

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