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
Nestlé uses the 'breast is best' notice to endorse its
Labels of infant
Code is 20 years old. Article
9.2 relates to labelling of infant formula and requires
the words "Important Notice" and:
- a statement on
the superiority of breastfeeding;
- a statement that
the product should only be used on the advice of a health
for appropriate use;
- a warning against
the hazards of inappropriate preparation.
Article 9.2 also
states: "Neither the container nor the label should have
pictures of infants, nor should they have other pictures or
text which may idealize the use of infant formula."
Nestlé has removed
baby pictures from its infant formulas and in most countries
does not use the cartoon figures used by some of its competitors.
Generally its infant formulas are portrayed in a more serious
manner, as befits the image Nestlé is attempting to present
of a 'nutrition' company.
Nestlé also complies
with the 'Breast is best' statement requirement, but in many
countries it adds text. The message it attempts to portray becomes
in effect: 'Breast is best and this formula is similar to
breastmilk so it must be good'.
For example: Breast
is best and...
- Nativa 1
(Côte d'Ivoire): "Its composition is based on mother's
- Lactogen 1
(Ghana): "Composition is based on that of breastmilk."
- Nan (Mexico):
"Based on mother's milk."
- Nan (Uruguay):
"Composition qualitatively and quantitatively based on mother's
- Nidina 1
(Italy): "Similar to mother's milk."
- Good Start
(Canada) is the "next best alternative to breastmilk"
- Good Start
is "100% whey protein, the primary type of protein
in breastmilk" and the "ideal formula choice
to bring out the best in your baby."
The above data comes
from IBFAN's international monitoring project (see the report
the Rules 2001, available from Baby Milk Action's Virtual
statements (which neglect to mention the factors the formula
is lacking) include:
- Nan HA
(Mexico): "Can be used from birth since it contains
all nutrients required by the infants for adequate growth."
(Russia): "Provides all essential vitamins and minerals."
and Nan (Russia): "Mothers trust Nestlé."
to the man responsible: Peter
Brabeck-Letmathé, CEO, Nestlé S.A., Av. Nestlé
55, CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 21 924 2813.
of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk
Substitutes sets out requirements for the labelling
of infant formula.
companies around the world generally include the required
text and warnings but then violate the Code by adding
other statements which idealise the product. These statements
often suggest the product is "similar to breastmilk"
and, as everyone knows, "breastmilk is best for
babies". This turns the required 'important notice'
into a promotion for the product.
I would be
interested to receive a copy of Nestlé's internal instructions
which presumably tell your staff to add these idealising
statements when they design labels. Or, if the instructions
forbid such statements (as they should), perhaps you can
explain why the statements appear in so many countries.
I also call
on you to instruct your companies to immediately remove
products with such statements from the market and to comply
fully with Article 9.2 of the International Code
when producing replacement labels.
- Breaking the Rules 2001
In the new IBFAN
international monitoring report, Breaking
the Rules 2001 (BTR - available in the Baby Milk Action
receives almost as damning a score card as Nestlé
for its violations of the marketing requirements (Wyeth does
not produce complementary foods and so did not break the articles
relevant to these).
Just a few examples
- In Taiwan and
Bolivia, company reps visit mothers at health facilities and
homes to give information on infant feeding and recommend
- In Taiwan, the
company uses baby clubs to contact mothers, offering them
free samples of S-26 infant formula, S-26 gift
bags and gifts such as bottles, bibs, toys and towels.
- Company reps
contact mothers by telephone in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mexico.
- In Bolivia, Hong
Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan and the UAE, the company distributes
promotional materials such as booklets, magazines and posters
in a variety of ways: by mail in the UAE; left on counters
at health facilities and at a mothers' club in Hong Kong;
and at a baby expo called "Bebe y Yo" in Mexico.
- The company has
produced promotional materials with the following titles:
- "Wyeth Gold
Millennium Baby 26" in Hong Kong. The leaflet advertises
a lucky draw for a gold carrot-shaped pendant for babies
born on the 26th of each month.
- A leaflet
titled "The Best start Éstarts from here" promoting S26
Gold in Hong Kong.
- "And the
little Princess livedÉ" for the brand SMA Progress in
the magazine Mother and Baby in the UAE.
- A leaflet
called "A special closeness" promoting S-26 in the UAE.
In the UK an
advertisement in the July 2001 issue of Prima Baby
magazine (pictured right) begins: "It's generally accepted
that breast feeding is best for your baby. But if for
some reason you can't, or choose not to breastfeed, there
are important facts you need to know to ensure that your
precious new baby is getting the next best feed to breast
promotes Wyeth's SMA brand and suggests parents phone
its "careline" for further information.
"Giving your baby a better start", "And
with everything else to get right, it's great to know
that your bottle fed baby is getting the best ever start
Click on the advertisement above to see how far Wyeth
has gone in idealising its SMA infant formula.
Ross and Mead
Johnson (the rest of the 'big four') also score badly in
BTR, but we are increasingly concerned about Wyeth's activities
globally and particularly in southern Africa. We are investigating
launching a high profile campaign against Wyeth and wish to
first give the company an opportunity to respond positively
to the BTR report and to a letter writing campaign.
to the man responsible: Mr. John R Stafford, CEO, Wyeth, PO Box
8616, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101, USA. Fax: +1 610 688 6228.
report, Breaking the Rules 2001, demonstrates
that Wyeth continues to breach the International Code
and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health
Assembly in a systematic manner.
has been passed to you by IBFAN via IFM.
please inform me of the action you are taking to bring
your company's baby food marketing policies and practices
into line with the marketing requirements.
can be a Code Monitor.