action to stop these violations of the International
Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
The people responsible have names and addresses - call on them to
market their products ethically.
The tables below give
details of some recent violations. The date when the violation
was last reported to Baby Milk Action or confirmed to be current
is given. The violation reference is for Baby Milk Action's records.
Please quote it if forwarding correspondence to us, if possible.
the company responses received so far.
companies now please change their labels!!
Labels of complementary
foods promote introduction at too early an age
In 1994 the
World Health Assembly adopted a Resolution (WHA
47.5) stating that complementary feeding should be
fostered from "the age of about 6 months".
This was because of the health risks of introducing complementary
(or "weaning") foods too early. This is particularly dangerous
in poor conditions where infants are at more risk of infection
and are less likely to have access to a health care system.
baby food companies continue to label their complementary
foods for use from four months of age or even earlier.
They have disputed the Resolution adopted by the World
Health Assembly and ignored scientific evidence. Why?
It is estimated that they sell an extra US$1 billion of
products every year by labelling them for use at too early
The World Health
Assembly adopted a new Resolution on 18th May this year
again indicating that complementary foods should not be
promoted before 6 months of age (see IBFAN
press release). This is a public health recommendation
and does not prevent health workers suggesting earlier
introduction of complementary foods if there is a medical
reason for doing so in specific cases.
Association of Infant Food Manufacturers (IFM) whose members
include some of the worst violators of the marketing requirements
tried to stop discussion of this Resolution this year and then
tried to weaken it (see British
Medical Journal report 9 September 2000).
Will companies finally
change their labels or will they continue to put their own profits
before infant health?
Take action: Write
to the following Chief Executives whose companies continue to
violate the Resolutions. The new IBFAN monitoring report, Breaking
the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001 exposes which companies
are at fault. (Abbott is not a member of IFM - all others are
or have subsidiaries which are).
Miles D. White, CEO,
Abbott Laboratories, 100 Abbott Park Road, Abbott Park,
Illinois 60064-3500, USA. Fax: +1 8479371511.
Riboud, CEO, Danone, 7 rue de Teheran, 75381 Paris,
France. Fax: +33 1 42 25 67 16
International Nutrition Company, Uplandsgade 38, Copenhagen
S, Denmark 2300.
Piewter Stuyvesantweg 1, PO Box 226, 8901 MA Leeuwarden, The
Netherlands. Fax: +31 58 299 3299
Vasella, CEO (Novartis - parent of Gerber), Novartis,
Lichtstrasse 35, CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland. Fax: +41 61 324
R Johnson, CEO, HJ Heinz Co., PO Box 57, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania 15230-0057, USA. Mr. Klaus Hipp, General Manager,
Hipp K.G., Postfach 1551, 85265 Pfaffenhofen, Germany. Fax:
+43 7612 76577 201.
Brabeck-Letmathé, CEO, Nestlé S.A.,
Av. Nestlé 55, CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland. Fax: + 41
21 924 2813.
van der Wielen, CEO, NUMICO (Nutricia, Milupa, Cow&Gate),
PO Box 1, 2700 MA Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. Fax: +31 79 353
has been violating Resolution 47.5 of the World Health
Assembly for the past seven years by labelling complementary
foods for use before 6 months of age. As you know this
Resolution was based on the scientific evidence of the
harm caused by early introduction of complementary foods.
The World Health
Assembly has this year again indicated that complementary
foods should not be promoted for use before 6 months.
Resolution 54.2 calls for action to "protect,
promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for six months
as a global public health recommendation... with continued
breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond."
you now give a clear public undertaking to change your
complementary food labels so that none promote complementary
feeding before 6 months of age and do not undermine breastfeeding
in any other way?
Will you also
state clearly that your company will do nothing to try
and undermine or weaken the recommendation of the World
Association of Infant Food Manufacturers attempted to
block this Resolution from being discussed at this World
Health Assembly. Did your company support this strategy
and, if so, why?
plays word games with Cameroon violation
Promotion of breastmilk
substitutes at health facilities in Cameroon.
Action has publicised the launch of the Nestlé boycott in Cameroon
- the 20th country where a concerned national group has taken
boycott action (see press
The group Cameroon
Link reported to us that it took this action after finding
Nestlé promoting Nan and Guigoz infant
formula at health facilities with film shows. Baby Milk Action
referred to the violation report in its publicity. On its website
Nestlé seizes on the word "report" to suggest
we are not sure of our facts and denies the violation.
Our partners on the
ground in Cameroon stand by their report. Cameroon Link
the group Cameroon Link launched the Nestle boycott to protest
against Nestle's aggressive marketing practices, having found
Nestle promoting Nan and Guigoz infant formula at health facilities
in Bonaberi-Douala, at the out-skirt of the economic capital
of Cameroon with a population of over two million people.
Not only were the medical delegates found in the hospital
distributing Nestle ads and samples of the baby breast milk
substitutes, film shows were programmed. Baby Milk Action
for this reason has no excuse or apology to give.
the launch of the boycott, Nestle planned a series of activities
to counter the bad publicity, and to weaken the strength of
the boycott in Cameroon. Cameroon Link was contacted for clarification
on the boycott and there have been two meetings with Michel
Bosshard, the General Manager of Nestle for Central African
region. Mr. Bosshard has encouraged the NGO to call off the
Write to: Mr.
Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé
S.A. 55, Av. Nestlé. CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland (Fax: +41
21 921 1885). Please copy to: Cameroon Link, Human Assistance
Programme, PO Box 1460 Douala, Cameroon.
It has been
reported that Nestlé has been found promoting Nan
and Guigoz breastmilk substitutes at health facilities
On its website
Nestlé denies the violation and seizes on the word "report"
to suggest Baby Milk Action, which has publicised the
violation, is unsure of its facts.
Action stands by its violation report.
to personally review any hint of a violation. Will you
investigate this issue and take appropriate action against
the Nestlé staff responsible for the violation
and the apparent cover up attempt.
The UK is having a general election on 7th June. Here we give
some key questions for candidates. These can be adapted for
politicians in all countries.
Are you aware of
the International Code of Marketing
of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions
on infant feeding adopted by the World Health Assembly?
Are you aware
that these policies were adopted as minimum requirements to
be implemented in their entirety by all countries? The UK
Law does not fully implement the Code and Resolutions. If
you are elected will you work to bring the UK Law into line
with these minimum health standards? (The UK Law is called
the "Infant Formulae and Follow-on Formulae Regulations,
1995" - see Baby Milk Action's briefing paper "Why
the UK law must be changed").
Will you work
to ensure that international bodies such as the European Union
and the World Trade Organisation take the International
Code and Resolutions into account wherever relevant.
the European Parliament held a Public Hearing into Nestlé's
baby food marketing activities in developing countries, but
Nestlé refused to attend. What action will you take
to call transnational companies such as Nestlé to account
for their actions?
Companies are increasingly
sponsoring school materials to market their products to young
people and to try to improve negative images. Will you support
a ban on marketing in schools? (Baby Milk Action's new schools
pack, Seeing through the Spin,
is a teacher's resource encouraging students to look critically
at materials produced by companies and their critics).
You may also wish to raise issues such as maternity leave, breastfeeding
breaks and support for the Nestlé boycott.
can be a Code Monitor.