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Nestlé tackled on human rights at Croydon demo.

A demonstration at Nestlé (UK) headquarters in Croydon at 11 a.m. on Saturday 17th May showed that concern about Nestlé's baby milk marketing practices has not ended despite Nestlé's claim that it has resolved all outstanding issues.

Representatives of Baby Milk Action, the campaigning group which coordinates the international consumer boycott of Nestlé, presented a petition of over 30,000 names calling on Nestlé to abide by the World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

A consumer group representative visiting from India aired grievances concerning Nestlé's promotion of bottle feeding in his country. Mr. Bejon Misra, General Secretary of the Confederation of Indian Consumer Organisations says he is concerned about the "human rights" aspect of the issue. He said:

"Breastfeeding is a human rights issue. Breastfeeding is the best start in life for infants and mothers should be valued and supported for breastfeeding. It is very disturbing, therefore, that companies such as Nestlé promote bottle-feeding and undermine breastfeeding. In India Nestlé was taken to court in 1994 by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and Association for Consumer Action on Safety and Health (ACASH), campaigning groups on breastfeeding, for labelling products contrary to the Infant Milk Substitutes Act. Nestlé has displayed an unfortunate attitude by challenging the provisions of the Act, which I view as a delaying tactic."

Mr. Misra is also concerned that information materials published by Nestlé in India do not carry dates, which could enable Nestlé to claim such materials were published before the Act came into force in 1992.

Mr. Misra supports the calls on health and other organisations to follow the examples of The Indian Academy of Paediatrics and the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India and to reject sponsorship from baby food manufacturers. He said:

"In my view companies which promote bottle-feeding and undermine breastfeeding are abusing human rights. How can the medical profession accept funding from them? I also support the boycott of Nestlé products organised by Baby Milk Action and call on Nestlé to put its house in order."

The demonstration was organised by the London Group of Baby Milk Action.

For further information contact Baby Milk Action head office:
Baby Milk Action, 23 St Andrew's St, Cambridge CB2 3AX, UK.
T: +44 (0)1223 464420


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