to bring in big changes across the European Union
The 1991 European
Union (EU) Directive on Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula,
which drives marketing legislation within the EU and influences
legislation in other countries, is now up for review. This is
a critically important opportunity to demand that European infants
and their families have the full protection of the International
Code and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions,
called for by European Parliamentarians (MEPs) since 1981. See
Update 35 for details
and a suggested letter.
Also, please send
a message on corporate accountability to Vladimír Spidla
Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs and Gûnter
Vice-President and Commissioner for Enterprise, both at B-1049
Brussels, Belgium and your MEP. Suggested text (you can select
the following text and copy and paste it into your email or
I am writing
to request that the forthcoming Communication on Corporate
Social Responsibility gives a commitment to the introduction
of a legal framework for a companys responsibilities
wherever they operate in the world, covering for example,
protection of human rights, the environment and employees.
include, but not be limited to, a mandatory requirement
to report annually on compliance with relevant international
conventions and standards, including the International
Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and other
relevant World Health Assembly minimum standards.
uses free CD to push formula in China
Baby Milk Action supported a campaign by our partners in the
Code Documentation Centre, Penang, to stop Nutricia pushing
its Kissing my Baby range of formulas in China with a
free gift CD of childrens songs. Nutricia responded by
first attempting to justify the promotion, but following bad
publicity in its home country of Holland, the company wrote
to ICDC saying that it intended to adjust the marketing programme
to be entirely in line with the Chinese regulations.
has found that Nutricia did not remove the packshot of Kissing
my Baby formula prohibted by the Chinese Rules Governing
the Administration and Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
(1 October 1995) and a mother reports receiving a copy
when she bought the formula in the range for use from birth.
Giving gifts to promote sales of breastmilk substitutes
that a mother buying the infant formula shown on the
right in June received the free CD shown left, which
still has a packshot of a Kissing my Baby
here for a larger version of the image and click
here for ICDC's report.
promotion first came to light when Director of Nutricia China,
Marc de Reouw, boasted to a television programme that the company
had gold on its hands with its entry into the market.
While Nutricia looks forward to profit, health experts are already
counting the cost. When the International Baby Food Action Network
(IBFAN) launched a report in China in May 2004 exposing violations
an official with the Ministry of Health told the media: The
health of following generations of the Chinese nation might
be threatened if breastfeeding is replaced by milk powder.
babies died from malnutrition in East Chinas Anhui Province
after being fed milk powder with little, if any, nutritional
value, the China Daily reported in May. While people have been
detained for making fake milk powder, Chinese authorities are
concerned about the emergence of a bottle-feeding culture.
Milk Action's suggested letter to the man ultimately responsible
for the malpractice Jan Bennink, CEO, NUMICO (Nutricia, Milupa,
Cow&Gate), PO Box 1, 2700 MA Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.
Fax: +31 79 353 9620 (You could cut and
paste the text below into your letter or into the Numico on-line
comment form - click
I am contacting
you as reports suggest that Nutricia, part of the NUMICO
company, is breaking Chinese law and World Health Assembly
marketing requirements by promoting its Kissing
my Baby' range of formulas in China with free-gift CDs,
given when mothers purchase formula, and which carry a
packshot of formula.
violates the Chinese Rules Governing the Administration
and Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (1 October 1995).
this promotion is taking place despite an earlier promise
from NUMICO that it would change the promotion to comply
with the Rules.
I ask you to
explain why NUMICO has gone ahead with this promotion
and call on you to ensure it is ended immediately.
Baby Milk Action adds:
addition to writing to Numico, you can write to the European
Commission. As well as violating the International Code
and Chinese law, Nutricia is violating a European Union Council
Resolution requiring companies to abide by the Code wherever
they operate. Previous complaints using the Council Resolution
have been ignored by the European Comission responsible for
overseeing it, which has not reviewed its operation despite
a call from the European Parliament for it to do so (see press
release 23 November 2000). All the same, we should attempt
to use the Council Resolution to persuade the Commission to
meet its obligations.
Council Resolution on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes
in third countries by Community-based manufacturers (92/C
172/01) states in part (click
here to download the full text as a pdf):
Whereas in May 1981 the 34th World Health
Assembly adopted as a recommendation the
International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes;
Whereas a considerable volume of these products is sold
to third countries by Community-based manufacturers;
Whereas it is considered very important that
marketing practices in third countries should not discourage
mothers from breastfeeding;Whereas the application of the
International Code provides without doubt an excellent way
to achieve this in these countries;
Whereas the Community cannot legislate for
these countries; whereas it is nevertheless necessary to
encourage compliance with the International Code of Marketing
of Breast-milk Substitutes when these products are placed
on sale in export markets, in so far as this does not conflict
with the provisions in force in the countries concerned;
Whereas the Community can offer an effective
support to the competent authorities of these countries
in their efforts to apply the International Code in their
HAS ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION:
1. The Community will contribute to the application
of appropriate marketing practices for breast-milk substitutes
in third countries.
letter to the European Commission (You
could cut and paste the text below into the European Union on-line
comment form, marking it to the attention of the Commission
President - click
am contacting you as reports suggest that Nutricia,
part of the NUMICO company, based in European Union
Member State of the Netherlands is breaking Chinese
Law and World Health Assembly marketing requirements.
NUMICO is promoting its infant milk brand "Kissing
my Baby" with a free gift CD given with infant
formula according to reports from the International
Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). The CD pack also promotes
the "Kissing my Baby" brand.
Council Resolution 92/C
the European Union requires European companies to abide
by the World Health Assembly's International Code
of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in countries
outside the European Union.
this Resolution is not being respected.Numico's marketing
practices in China should not discourage mothers from
breastfeeding. I would be grateful if you could give
effective support to the competent authorities of China
who are applying the International Code in their territory
through their law, by taking action to stop Numico's
for Nestlé to face the truth
response to the campaign against its aggressive marketing of
baby foods is to claim that it stopped promotional practices
in the 1970s and stopped distributing free supplies in the 1990s.
It blames the on-going controversy on incorrect interpretation
of the marketing requirements and says its own instructions
are in line with the International
is not telling the truth.
has been prosecuted for illegal marketing activity.
claims have been discredited before the Advertising Standards
senior executives lose debate after debate with Baby Milk Action
at universities and schools (click
here for a report on a debate that took place at Edinburgh
University on 3 December 2004, which links to supporting documents).
of making the required changes - and accepting our four-point
plan aimed at saving lives and ultimately ending the boycott
- Nestlé prefers to continue with business as usual and
to spend millions of pounds on public relations materials, an
anti-boycott team and using donations in an attempt to improve
Milk Action says it is time for Nestlé to put up or shut
up and we are calling for it to take part in an in-depth tribunal
which will examine who is telling the truth. When this suggestion
has been made to Nestlé at debates - where there is insufficient
time to cover the issues in detail - Nestlés Head
of Corporate Affairs has fallen silent. So we are asking our
supporters, Nestlés supporters and confused on-lookers
to put pressure on Nestlé to agree in principle to an
independent tribunal, where expert witnesses can be called.
refused to turn up to a Public
Hearing at the European Parliament in November 2000, but
the campaign has gained strength since then: in the past Nestlé
refused to even speak in public if Baby Milk Action was in the
room, but pressure from the boycott now forces it to attend
the debates. If you would like to organise a debate at your
institution please contact email@example.com
the tribunal, documentary evidence of the case against Nestlé
can be found on the Baby Milk Action website. As well as examples
of Nestlé malpractice, the Your
Questions Answered section provides in-depth briefings on
aspects of the campaign.
well as documenting current malpractice and exposing dishonest
statements, we are adding details of the history of the campaign
as time and resources allow (contributions for this project
are welcome). For example, the boycott was called off in 1984
after Nestlé gave undertakings to the International Nestlé
Boycott Committee (INBC) and Nestlé claims that today
only extremists are keeping it going. Yet the documents show
that Nestlé not only broke the 1984 agreement, prompting
the re-launch of the boycott in 1988, but continues to break
it. For example:
said it would abide by the International Code globally
in 1984, including supporting implementation of the Code in
Europe. Today Nestlé claims the Code applies only to
a list of developing countries of its own invention.
said it would bring its policies into line with the Code.
In the joint statement suspending the boycott of 25 January
1984: Both parties praise UNICEFs assistance
in clarifying provisions of the Code. Nestlé
did not make the required changes and today refuses outright
to make changes called for by UNICEF (click
here for UNICEF's 1997 letter to Nestlé setting
out some of the company's incorrect interpretation).
1984 agreement was to be the start of a process. In the 1984
statement ending the boycott in Europe, Lisa Woodburn, Coordinator
of INBC Europe, said: We have a clear program of
further negotiation, coupled with compliance and accountability,
worked out for Nestlé. As the boycott ended,
so did Nestlés willingness to respond to campaigners
1984 monitoring by the International Baby Food Action Network
(IBFAN) showed Nestlé had to take action to end violations
of the marketing requirements. IBFANs
2004 monitoring report shows Nestlé is responsible
for more violations than any other company.
you want to see Nestlé put its case before an independent
tribunal, send a letter along the following lines to Hilary Parsons,
Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé (UK), St. Georges
House, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1NR. Fax: +44 208 667 5440 (or 0208
667 5440 if in the UK).
You can select the text below and copy
and paste it into a word-processor or into the comment
page on the Nestlé site. Note Nestlé keeps
changing the address of the comment page. If the link to it is
dead go via http://www.nestle.com/.
claims that it is doing nothing wrong in the way it markets
baby foods around the world. Baby Milk Action claims that
it has documentary evidence to demonstrate that Nestlé
is in breach of international marketing standards for
baby foods and that Nestlé's claims to abide by
the marketing standards are dishonest.
truly believes it is able to stand on its record will
it agree to take part in a public tribunal to respond
to the case made by Baby Milk Action?
of such a tribunal is not to negotiate over interpretation
of the World Health Assembly's marketing requirements
or the boycott, but to ascertain who is telling the truth.
Baby Milk Action
has proposed that an expert panel is convened to respond
to and report on the evidence and that sufficient time
be given to examine all issues thoroughly, calling expert
witnesses as appropriate.
agree to this proposal in principle? If so, I encourage
you to contact Baby Milk Action immediately to agree the
format of the public meeting.
It is regrettable
that as Head of Corporate Affairs for Nestlé (UK)
you have not responded positively when this suggestion
has been made to you by Baby Milk Action at debates. If
Nestlé is not prepared to accept Baby Milk Action's
suggestion, I will be forced to conclude this is because
you know your arguments do not stand scrutiny.
can be a Code Monitor.