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Nestlé whistleblower to present evidence at House of Commons (UK Parliament) despite gun attack in Pakistan

29th February 2000

On the morning of 27th February shots were fired at the house of a former employee of Nestlé Pakistan, who is exposing institutionalised malpractice by the company in pushing its baby food products. The brother of the whistleblower escaped unhurt after 6 shots entered through the upstairs window, from where he had been speaking to the early morning callers. The local police are now investigating the attack.

The former Nestlé employee, Syed Aamar Raza, sent a Legal Notice to Nestlé in November 1997, calling on the company to end its unethical marketing practices. His Legal Notice includes documentary evidence demonstrating company tactics, including:

        • bribes given to doctors,
        • setting of sales quotas for marketing staff,
        • payment of incentives to marketing staff,
        • provision of free supplies of breastmilk substitutes,
        • direct marketing to mothers.

Some of Mr. Raza's evidence has been published in a report, Milking Profits, which was launched by Mr. Raza and Baby Milk Action at a press conference at the British Medical Association on 15th February 2000. Since Mr. Raza has publicised the report in the UK, threats have been made against him in Pakistan, both anonymously and by doctors implicated in Mr. Raza's Legal Notice. No doctors are named in the Milking Profits report and these doctors presumably have been made aware by other means that their names appear on Nestlé documents contained in the Legal Notice.

Mr. Raza is continuing with his publicity campaign and will present his evidence of marketing malpractice to a meeting at the House of Commons today (17.30, Jubilee Room, 29th February) hosted by Neil Gerrard MP.

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

"Yesterday, when we received the report of the attack, we first contacted the police in Pakistan, seeking confirmation and to encourage them to protect Mr. Raza's family as far as possible. We then wrote to Mr. Brabeck, Nestlé CEO, asking him to conduct an immediate investigation into the situation and to do all that he can to stop the campaign of intimidation against Mr. Raza.

"Nestlé could have issued a statement to the media in Pakistan condemning the attack on Mr. Raza's family and calling for restraint from anyone who feels they have a grievance against Mr. Raza because of the Legal Notice.

"Instead, Nestlé's response to us simply claims that it is 'recognised as one of the world most reputable company [sic] by such well established media as the Financial Times, and Fortune Magazine... ' and suggests that the attack may not have occured. It would have only taken Nestlé a few phone calls to use its contacts in Pakistan to confirm with the local police that the attack had occured, just as we did.

"Baby Milk Action has written to Mr. Brabeck today following Nestlé's inadequate response asking him to take action before Mr. Raza or a member of his family is hurt or worse.

"We also asked for assistance from the UK Foreign Office and from Lord Ahmed of Rotheram. Lord Ahmed has agreed to take up the issue."

Mike Brady added:

"We have not received any response from Nestlé about the evidence of marketing malpractice contained in the Milking Profits report nor a response to Mr. Raza's claim that he was threatened by Nestlé staff after sending his Legal Notice.

"Nestlé's Vice President Mr. Christiansen offered to provide us with Nestlé's response in its PR publication, the Nestlé Code "Action" Report [January 2000]. We wrote on 24th January to accept this offer, but over a month later Mr. Christiansen has still not replied. Nestlé has had Mr. Raza's legal notice for over two years. I cannot understand the delay."

For further information contact : Baby Milk Action, 23 St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX.
Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417 E-mail:

You will find the Milking Profits report in Baby Milk Action's Virtual Shop.

Notes for Editors:

  1. 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.

  2. According to UNICEF, 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.

  3. 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).

  4. The German 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 Picture Press GmbH on +49 40 3703 2572. Baby Milk Action has no connection with the agency nor responsibility for the pictures.

  5. Richard Howitt MEP is arranging for public hearings into the baby food industry, scheduled for June, to take place at the European Parliament. He has raised questions about Nestlé activities.

  6. 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.

Some news reports on the Internet:

British Medical Journal, 18th February 2000

The Times, 16th February 2000

Western Mail, 16th February 2000


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