Pakistan employee blows whistle on institutionalised malpractice
18th February 2000
A former Nestlé
employee, Syed Aamar Raza, has provided documentary evidence of
the institutionalised methods used by Nestlé to push its
baby food products in Pakistan. A new report, Milking
Profits, is based on this evidence and was launched in the
UK by Baby Milk Action on 15th February 2000. The report exposes:
- bribes given
- setting of
sales quotas for marketing staff,
- payment of
incentives to marketing staff,
of free supplies of breastmilk substitutes,
- direct marketing
All of these activities
violate the International Code
of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and other measures
adopted by the World Health Assembly to protect infant health.
Where water is unsafe, a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more
likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed child.
In Pakistan, 26% of the population does not have access to safe
water and 53% do not have access to adequate sanitation (Refs:
Mr. Raza sent a Legal
Notice to Nestlé in an attempt to stop the company's marketing
malpractice and claims that Nestlé responded with threats
and offered him money to keep silent. He has decided to continue
with his campaign and provided his evidence to an organisation
in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)
called The Network - Association for Rational Use of Medication
The Network has published
Milking Profits based
on Mr. Raza's evidence.
Baby Milk Action is
stocking Milking Profits for sale at £5.50 inc. p&p. in
the UK (visit the Baby Milk Action Virtual
Shop) and is arranging speaking engagements on Mr. Raza's
behalf while he is in the UK to publicise his evidence.
For further information
contact: Mike Brady,
Baby Milk Action, 23 St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX.
Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417
Some news reports
on the Internet:
Medical Journal, 18th February 2000
Times, 16th February 2000
Mail, 16th February 2000
Notes for Editors:
- Baby food companies
are required to abide by the International Code of Marketing
of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions
adopted by the World Health Assembly. The Assembly is the policy
setting body of the World Health Organisation. These measures
are not enforceable, unless adopted in national legislation.
Nestlé has been opposing this in Pakistan since at least
1992. A draft law is presently with the new administration in
Pakistan, but has still not been passed.
- The evidence contained
in Milking Profits substantiates evidence found by monitoring
in 33 cities in Pakistan and published as the report Feeding
Fiasco in March 1998. Evidence from around the world continues
to demonstrate that Nestlé is violating the marketing
requirements in a systematic manner. Further details are available
from Baby Milk Action (also see the codewatch
section on the website).
- Mr. Raza asked the
World Health Organisation in January 1998 to assist him in pursuing
his legal action against Nestlé. WHO responded: "legal
actions against such cases can only be proceeded by the Government,
because WHO has only an advisory role..." As the International
Code has not yet been implemented in legislation, Mr. Raza
felt compelled to publicise his evidence to prompt change and
protect the infants of Pakistan. It has taken him time and effort
to put his family into hiding and to find the means to travel
- The report Milking
Profits has already been launched in Germany and Pakistan.
launch of Milking Profits coincided with an article in
Stern, including pictures taken in Pakistan which may
be purchased for publication from the syndication agency Picture
Press GmbH. For details of pictures contact Mrs. Repp-Gulow
of Picture Press GmbH on +49 40 3703 2572. Baby Milk Action
has no connection with the agency nor responsibility for the
pictures. ZDF television in Germany has film of Mr. Raza in
Pakistan, which has not yet been broadcast. Footage may be available.
Contact Baby Milk Action
for further details.
- Richard Howitt
MEP raised questions in the European Parliament in January 2000
about Nestlé's baby food marketing activities in Pakistan
and elsewhere, asking the Commission to take action. Mr. Howitt
is arranging for public hearings into the baby food industry,
scheduled for June.
- Nestlé has
attempted to divert attention from the evidence by alleging
that Mr. Raza attempted to blackmail the company. Mr. Raza denies
this, saying his life was threatened by Nestlé and he
was offered money. Baby Milk Action position is the evidence
provided by Mr. Raza should be examined in its own right and
that the blackmail allegation is a separate issue. While the
blackmail allegation is a legal matter between Mr. Raza and
Nestlé, Baby Milk Action has been asking Nestlé
to substantiate its allegation for the past year and hasn't
received a response.