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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.

The Campaign for Ethical Marketing targets violations by all companies. Nestlé figures more prominently than other companies because it is resposible for more violations than any other company. This month we feature three examples of Nestlé violations. See the index for past action sheets.


Nestlé dismisses violation report from Botswanan Government

Company
Item
Date
Violation Reference

Nestlé

Labels and point-of-sale promotion.
July 2000
comp/00/15

Background:

Last year Nestlé launched a book of letters entitled Nestlé implementation of the WHO Code, claiming that 54 governments had officially verified that it abides by the International Code. The book rapidly became a public relations disaster as governments complained that their letters had been misrepresented - for example the letter from Oman was only thanking Nestlé for attending a meeting and was in no way an endorsement. Government letters setting out Nestlé violations were not included in the book. UNICEF and WHO also criticised Nestlé's initiative. (See the briefing paper Don't Judge a Book by its Cover).

Nestlé continues to seek letters from governments. The Botswanan Ministry of Health responded with a letter dated 14th June 2000 setting out violations of its requirements. Nestlé's written response dismisses the violations on the grounds that the Government has incorrectly interpreted the marketing requirements adopted by the World Health Assembly. Nestlé also demanded a meeting. The government stood firm, telling Nestlé to make the necessary changes.

Write to: Mr. Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé S.A. 55, Av. Nestlé. CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland (Fax: +41 21 921 1885). Suggested letter:

It is reported that Nestlé has received a report from the Botswanan Government setting out violations of its marketing requirements for breastmilk substitutes. For example, labels on your products are not in the required language. This is very disappointing when you gave a public undertaking that all labels will be in the correct language by March 2000 in your Code "Action" Report (Edition 3). The government has also complained that labels include idealising text and promote bottle feeding. The government has made it clear to Nestlé that it requires instructions showing cup feeding, which poses less risk to the health of artificially-fed infants than bottle feeding. These labels are violating Article 9.2 of the International Code.

According to the government, its monitoring found point-of-sale promotional items such as a banner reading "The most trusted name in infant nutrition." Such materials are banned by Article 5.3 of the International Code. Mr. Partington of Nestlé South Africa has reportedly dismissed the government's complaints in a letter dated 24th July 2000. Please take immediate action to ensure that the government's requirements are respected and all violations are stopped.

You have also claimed that disciplinary action is taken against employees who deliberately violate the Code. Please indicate what action you will be taking in this case.

 


Nestlé begs not to be named and shamed in Brazil

Company
Item
Date
Violation Reference
Nestlé
Monitoring report to be published by the Government
August 2000
comp/00/16

UPDATE 26 November 2000:

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 advertising in India

Company
Item
Date
Violation Reference
Nestlé
Advertising feature for Cerelac
August 2000
comp/00/17

Background:

The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India has launched a publicity campaign exposing an article in a parenting magazine in India which undermines breastfeeding and promotes early complementary feeding (see Press Release 8 September 2000). The article New Born Care appeared in Meri Saheli a Hindi magazine for women (issue August 2000). Almost 50% of the space in this four-page article is consumed by advertisements for Nestlé Cerelac. These pages are not numbered pages and sources in the advertisement section of Meri Saheli indicate that Nestle bought the space.

BPNI comments: "Incorrect information like this can undermine the current prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding which can result in increased infant morbidity and mortality and also malnutrition." The article also breaks India's Infant Milk Substiututes Act.

Write to: Mr. Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé S.A. 55, Av. Nestlé. CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland (Fax: +41 21 921 1885).

Key points for letters:

It is reported that Nestlé placed an advertising feature in Meri Saheli magazine in India (August 2000), promoting Cerelac complementary foods. The article does not contain the information required by India's Infant Milk Substitutes Act (Section 7). The article encourages introduction of complementary foods at 3 months of age and an early end to breastfeeding, contradicting the recommendations of the World Health Assembly, WHO and UNICEF.

Please ensure that advertising features such as this are not placed again.


 

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