On the November 1997 Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet we exposed promotional methods used by Nestlé in Armenia. In its response Nestlé said it was reviewing its distribution arrangements in Armenia. Advertisements for Nan infant formula have since been removed from distributors' vehicles - advertising of breastmilk substitutes is banned by Article 5.1 of the International Code. However, advertising on trams continues with the slogan "Best quality, best food" alongside the Nestlé name and infant food mascot.
We also highlighted Nestlé's failure to label Nido whole milk powder as unsuitable for infants. We now find that Nestlé has introduced new labels in Armenia. These have a warning, but the labels are in English only. It is important that labels are in Armenian as some mothers still use Nido believing it to be infant formula. Labels for Al 110 and Al Soy infant formulas are also only labelled in English. Article 9.2 of the International Code requires packs to have "a label which cannot be readily separated from it, in an appropriate language."
Ask Nestlé to remove its infant food advertisements from trams and to label its products in Armenia in theArmenian language.
On the October 1997 action sheet we exposed Hipp teas, which are labelled for use from one week of age in Armenia (and many other countries). Hipp is a German company and is subject to the regulations of the European Union. Hipp responded by saying that "Teas for infants are not regulated in the EU-decree for baby food." However, EU Council Resolution 92/C 172/01 calls on EU companies to market their products in conformity with the International Code whenever they operate outside the EU. Labels on teas should make it clear that they are only for use from about 6 months of age if they are to conform with the requirements of the International Code.
Ask Hipp to abide by the International Code as required by the Council Resolution.
Nutricia (recently re-named Numico) now manufactures infant formula in Russia. The Malish infant formula shown below is labelled for use from 3 months to 1 year of age.
Text contained in a prominent box says: "Malish is close to breastmilk and has the necessary protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins for the infant." The labels violate Article 9.2 which states that there should be no "pictures or text which may idealize the use of infant formula." Article 9.2 also specifies statements which should appear as an "Important Notice" - Nutricia has neglected to include this.
Ask Nutricia to abide by the International Code in Russia by removing idealizing text and infant pictures from its baby foods and by adding the required important notice.
In Germany Nestlé produces a promotional booklet called Baby und Urlaub (Baby and Holiday). This includes a promotional campaign for Alete fruit and mineral water drinks. The Alete range also includes teas with mineral water. The advertisement shown below is taken from the booklet.
The text reads: "On hot days, your baby needs more to drink too. Even very little ones under 4 months can do with something extra apart from breastmilk as sometimes breastfeeding alone does not provide all the liquid needed in summer. The best thing to do is to offer your baby unsweetened baby teas, such as Alete fennel or herbal tea..." Nestlé's instant teas are labelled as suitable for use from 2 weeks of age.
This is in breach of World Health Assembly Resolution WHA 47.5, adopted in 1994, which calls for complementary feeding to be fostered from about 6 months. A product promoted for use before this age is clearly substituting for breastmilk and so comes within the Scope of the International Code.
Article 5.1 states that "There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code."
The booklet also promotes the Nestlé Alete Baby-Service, which provides Tips and Information. Article 5.5 states that, "Marketing personnel, in their business capacity, should not seek direct or indirect contact of any kind with pregnant women or with mothers of infants and young children."
Ask Nestlé to label and market its infant teas and fruit juices in accordance with the International Code and Resolutions.