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Take 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.

Nestlé continues to target pregnant women in Singapore

Violation Reference


Encouraging mothers to join a Nestlé club to receive mailings on nutrition and weaning.
October 2000


On the July/August action sheet we exposed Nestlé's Baby World Club which targets pregnant women in Singapore (see right). Article 5.5 of the International Code states: "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."

Nestlé operates baby clubs in a number of countries and usually argues that if it does not refer to an infant formula brand it is not violating the Code. UNICEF has made it clear that it is no excuse to argue that the contact is being sought using products other than infant formula. The prohibition is absolute. We have asked Nestlé why it is targeting pregnant women at all, but it has given no explanation.

In the case of Singapore, Nestlé has suggested we contact the Singapore Infant Food Ethics Committee. We did so at the same time as reporting the violation to Nestlé. The Singapore Code of Ethics specifically bans baby clubs. Article 5.2 states: "The provision of mothercraft or similar services (see Appendix 2 for listing of mothercraft-like services) paid by the infant food industry will not be permitted." Appendix 2 states: "Different forms of related services will come under the umbrella of mothercraft. These include.. Soliciting of mothers... Baby clubs... Newsletter..." Article 8.3 of the Code of Ethics states: "The infant food industry will not be associated in any manner with Baby Shows for products within the scope of this Code. It follows that there will be no sponsoring of event or soliciting of contacts with pregnant women or mothers of infants and young children." [emphasis added]

Why is Nestlé so convinced that the Ethics Committee will support its baby club when it is a clear violation? It could have something to do with the fact that Nestlé is a member of the Committee. The Chair Dr. Ho Lai Yun, provided a letter for Nestlé's discredited book Nestlé implementation of the WHO Code (see past action sheets and the briefing Don't Judge a Book by its Cover). We have not yet received a response from The Ethics Committee.

Given its continued insistence on targeting pregnant mothers there appears to be little point in asking supporters to write to Nestlé again on this matter. Instead, we ask you to support the Nestlé boycott to put financial pressure on Nestlé to bring its activities into line.

You may also wish to write to the Singapore Ethics Committee, asking it to enforce its Code.

Write to Dr. Ho Lai Yun, Chairman, Singapore Ethics Committee, Ministry of Health, College of Medicine Building, 16 College Road, Singapore 169854. Fax: +65 224 1677. Suggested letter:

Nestlé's Baby World baby club in Singapore has been cited as a violation of Article 5.5 of the International Code. Baby clubs are also specifically banned by Article 5.2 of the Singapore Code of Ethics and Article 8.3 bans the infant food industry from soliciting contact with pregnant women or mothers of infants and young children.

I would be grateful if you could confirm that the Ethics Committee does indeed prohibit baby clubs run by infant food companies and that the prohibition is absolute. This being the case, can you also confirm that Nestlé's Baby World is, or will be, prohibited?


SMA brings on the clowns in the UK

Violation Reference
Promotion to healthworkers
Febraury 2000


The International Code limits baby food companies to providing scientific and factual information to health workers.

Yet at the Royal College of Midwives Annual Conference in Jersey earlier this year the SMA stand had a pair of jugglers!

At past events SMA has given midwives gifts for speaking to a company representative (see Campaign for Ethical Marketing August 1997) and offered free manicures.


Write to: Mr. John R Stafford, CEO, Wyeth, PO Box 8616, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101, USA. Fax: +1 610 688 6228 or SMA Nutrition, Huntercombe Lane South, Taplow, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 0PH, UK. Fax (UK): 01628 604949. Suggested letter:

Article 7.2 of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes limits baby food companies to providing scientific and factual information to health workers. Article 7.3 prohibits companies from giving gifts to health workers as inducements to promote products.

Yet it is reported that Wyeth (SMA) has over-stepped these boundaries by, for example, giving midwives gift vouchers and free manicures. At this year's Royal College of Midwives Conference SMA even had a pair of jugglers to attract attention to its stand.

I request that you instruct all staff to strictly abide by the International Code and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions in all future dealings with health workers.

Updates on past violations

Nestlé begs not to be named and shamed in Brazil (September 2000 action sheet):

Nestlé Vice-President, Niels Christiansen, complained about our article which repeated reports from Brazilian newspapers that he had lobbied the Brazilian Government over its forthcoming independent monitoring report. We acknowledge the complaints about the Jornal do Brasil articles and Mr. Christiansen's statement: "Nestlé will welcome the monitoring report by Brazilian government, whenever it is published. As with any other reports or allegations received, we will fully investigate the report's findings and will respond to the Brazilian government as appropriate."

Nestlé formula promotion through gift to paediatricians in Brazil (April 2000 action sheet):

UK Member of Parliament Dr. Lynne Jones took up this case with Nestlé. On 1st November Nestlé (UK), while still contesting that it had violated the Code, stated: "In addition, to avoid any misunderstanding, Nestlé Brazil has decided to take out infant formula product related information in the 2000 edition of the Pharmacological Guide."

Nestle advertising in India (September 2000 action sheet):

Nestlé claimed in a letter dated 27th October that Nestlé India had not cleared the text in this Cerelac advertising feature and stated: "Nestlé India has decided not to advertise in this way in future unless the company has editorial preview."

Nestle advertises infant formula in Bulgaria (July/August 2000 action sheet):

After first attempting to argue that its advertisement was an article (although it paid for the space, it featured the Nestlé logo, was credited to Nestlé's nutrition advisor and referred to Nan 1 infant formula), Nestlé stated: "the type of information piece, to which you objected, has been stopped and will not appear again."

(Full company responses are published in the Tip of the Iceberg reports available from Baby Milk Action).

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