page was last updated on 3 March 2004.
keep writing to the companies concerned (background information,
contact details and suggested letters are given on the action
sheet). Please forward any responses you receive to us,
even if they are the same as the ones given here.
promotion in China planned for March
, parent of Nutricia, has indicated that it intends to press
ahead with a prohibited promotion for its 'Kissing my Baby'
range of baby milk in China. The Head of Nutricia China, Marc
de Rouw, explained in a television programme how the company
is promoting the brand by giving away 50,000 CDs of Dutch songs
for children when mothers buy Nutricia baby foods. The CD has
a pack-shot of one of the 'Kissing my Baby' formulas on its
complaining via the Numico website have received the following
response, which is given in its entirety. Baby Milk Action's
response is given below this.
may I refer to your e-mail of 27 February to Numico
regarding our WHO Code compliance in China.
First of all we regret very much that the
announcement of our baby food promotion activity
in China has led to a misunderstanding on your
side. I can assure you that the activities referred
to in you letter are in full compliance with
the code as this only regards products outside
the range of breastmilk substitues and all the
texts used for this activity have been approved
beforehand by Chinese authorities. In no country
Numico would ever make advertising or promotion
for starter infant formula, intended for babies
younger than 6 months when the mother is not
allowed or in a position to breastfeed Right
from the beginning in 1981 Royal Numico has
endorsed the WHO Code and we have taken responsibility
for the primary aim of the Code. As a general
principle, we want to ensure that all our marketing
and promotional activities contribute to the
general goal of providing safe and appropriate
nutrition for infants by the protection of breastfeeding
and by ensuring the proper use of breast milk
substitutes, when these become necessary. In
this connection I want to emphasise that all
our baby food branches, in more than 65 countries,
abide by the Code or local interpretation of
the Code, whichever are applicable. In these
counties our starter infant formula will contain
a statement to the effect that breastfeeding
is the ideal source of nutrition for infants
and the professional advice should be sought
before using starter infant formula and no direct
advertising or promotion of this product is
allowed. This also counts for China. Actually
Numico supports the efforts by the Chinese Government
to implement the WHO code as appropriate. This
can be illustrated by our active participation
in the recent IFM conference on infant feeding
in Beijing on 20 February 2004, discussing regulatory
issues to protect breastfeeding and current
science on good nutrition for young children,
infants and for pre-terms (see attachment 1).
Furthermore we participate in the promotion
of the establishment of an industry association
in China to stimulate the right discipline on
marketing practises among all players in the
Finally I want to inform you that regarding
WHO Code compliance Numico maintains briefing
programmes for expatriate and local employees
(also our independent distributors are covered).
They are all made aware of the importance of
adhering to WHO code. Code monitoring activities
are establishment in various markets to make
sure that this discipline is well maintained.
In addition Numico has established an independent
Advisory Committee on Ethical Affairs to audit
evaluation reports of our marketing practises.
Of course compliance is best achievable if instructions
on marketing practises are clearly defined by
national legislation. This not only provides
clarity on interpretations but also brings along
official supervision that laws are maintained.
In countries without clear Code legislation
our employees have to comply strictly with the
Numico directive, based on the WHO Code. (See
attachment 2). In these countries we also welcome
the monitoring activities of NGO's reported
directly to our company (as recommended by WHO).
Any notification of a violence of the Code will
have an immediate followed -up and when a violation
can be established corrective measures will
If you have any further questions, please do
not hesitate to contact me.
Klaas de Jong Corporate
Director Regulatory Affairs
cc WHO Geneve
response is totally inadequate and further demonstrates Numico's
contempt for the regulations.
Numico claims that
the text of its promotion has been approved by the Chinese authorities.
According to the news report, it is the text of the songs on
the CD which have been approved by the Ministry of Culture!
It is clear from the law that the promotion is prohibited. Companies
are, in any case, required to abide by the provisions of the
International Code independently of government measures
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 have received
a reply to my message to you concerning the promotion
of "Kissing my Baby" formulas in China.
it totally inadequate and further demonstrates Numico's
contempt for the International
Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent,
relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly
and the Chinese regulations.
that the promotion is not for a breastmilk substitute
for use by infants under 6 months. However, the promotion
is for the "Kissing my Baby" brand which is
used for infant formula from birth. Promoting formulas
for use for infants over six months with the same name,
promotes all formulas with the same name. It is clear
that Numico well understands and intends this to be
the case as in the television news report regarding
the promotion, Nutricia's Director, Marc de Rouw, showed
the CD with the full range of products, including formula
for use from birth.
Health Assembly Resolution 49.15 states that there
should be measures: "to ensure that complementary
foods are not marketed for or used in ways that undermine
exclusive and sustained breast-feeding." If
Numico wishes to classify the specific "Kissing
my Baby" formula prictured on the CD as a complementary
food, then the marketing should not undermine breastfeeding.
The use of the common brand name undermines breastfeeding
as so, even viewed as a complementary food promotion,
it is prohibited.
sent a copy of "NUMICO Guiding Principles for the
Marketing of Infant Formula" suggesting that these
demonstrate NUMICO's commitment to the International
Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Without
commenting in detail, it is sufficient to note that
Numico restricts its guidelines to infant formula, whereas
the International Code is for all breastmilk
substitutes. As you are no doubt aware the scope of
the Code is (Article
2): "breastmilk substitutes, including infant
formula; other milk products, foods and beverages, including
bottle-fed complementary foods, when marketed or otherwise
represented to be suitable, with or without modification,
for use as a partial or total replacement of breast-milk."
explicitly exclude any product that is not marketed
for use under 6 months of age and this institutionalised
disrespect for the Code is allowing promotions such
as that in China to proceed. I ask you once again, when
will Numico make the necessary systematic changes to
bring an end to such violations?
response serves to bring your company further into disrespute,
I ask you to reconsider and immediately halt this promotion
before it does further damage to infant feeding practices
have not yet received a response from the European Commission
as to whether it will enforce the Council Resolution on the
marketing of breastmilk substitutes by EU companies outside
the European Union.