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Nestlé presses ahead with tasteless Kit-Kat promotion as war looms

19th March 2003

As the United Kingdom and the United States stand poised to launch war on Iraq, anti-war campaigners are calling for people to leave their offices to protest. Nestle too is campaigning for people to take a break at 3 pm on Friday 21st March, but this has nothing to do with the war - its aim
is to sell Kit-Kat chocolate bars and Nescafé coffee.

Despite developments over the past few days, Nestlé appears to be pressing ahead with the promotion. In a posting on its special Kit-Kat website today, 19th March, Nestlé promotes its "campaign to encourage the whole nation to down tools and enjoy a break at 3pm on March 21st". See (Update 20 March 2003 - following emails from campaigners, the promotion of the date has been removed from the Nestlé site. Please keep sending emails to Nestlé via their site - or to - saying you will be giving Kit-Kat a break until Nestlé changes its ways and alert us if you see any other promotion of the 'Biggest break').

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action said,

"It is crass beyond belief if Nestlé presses ahead with this chocolate bar promotion as the bombs begin to fall. But this is the company that last Christmas tried to extract US$6 million from the Ethiopian Government while 11 million people face famine. This is the company that continues to
aggressively promote its baby milks, violating World Health Assembly marketing requirements, despite the fact that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. This is the company accused of trade union busting in Colombia and the Phillipines, that refuses
to withdraw from Burma, that puts Genetically Modified ingredients in baby food, that pays coffee growers less than cost price for coffee. Its CEO is Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, who earlier this year opposed regulation as a response to the Enron scandal, saying business leaders should be trusted to do the right thing.

"We promote a boycott of Nestlé products because Nestlé puts its own profits before infant health and ask that instead of sitting back on Friday and chomping on a Kit-Kat, people give Nestlé products a break then and in the future, until this company behaves ethically and responsibly."

Baby Milk Action will be taking part in a debate on the baby milk issue with Nestlé's Head of Corporate Affairs and Senior Policy Officer at Birmingham University Medical School at 7 p.m. on Thursday 20th March. The media are welcome. A series of debates have taken place at Universities. When
followed by a student union vote or referendum, students have overwhelmingly supported boycott action.

For further information contact Baby Milk Action on 01223 464420 or see the Baby Milk Action website

In January 2003 the British Medical Journal published research conducted in Togo and Burkina Faso which again found Nestlé and other baby food companies violating the marketing requirements. Monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) around the world, finds
Nestlé to be responsible for more violations of the marketing requirements than any other company.

An IBFAN publication on appropriate responses to infant feeding in emergency situations as will most probably soon be seen in Iraq and in surrounding countries as people seek refuge, is available on the IBFAN site.

For Mr. Brabeck's comments opposing regulations see the International Herald Tribune Mr. Brabeck said: "Regulations will never be a substitute for good personal integrity."

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