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Hear Nestlé and Baby Milk Action debate - if Nestlé will let you

8th February 2003

Nestle, the target of an international boycott because of its aggressive and irresponsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes, appears to be in a state of panic over the boycott. It has commissioned the public relations firm Shandwick and is lobbying to send senior executives to speak at universities to try to break the boycott. Nestlé attempts to make its presentations without Baby Milk Action becoming aware and on a number of occasions when we have been contacted by students hearing of a planned visit by Nestlé we have been refused the possibility of debating .

When Baby Milk Action has been invited to debate, Nestlé has lost every time.

We have been shocked by the outrageous and untrue claims Nestlé makes in its presentations and we are seeking to expose its denials and deception more widely.

Unfortunately, Nestlé is refusing to allow the debates to be filmed unless Baby Milk Action gives a written undertaking that the film will be used for 'internal training purposes only'. Nestlé has claimed that filming invades the privacy of its staff, despite the fact they are speaking at public events and on the record.

Baby Milk Action wants access to a film of a debate to send a video tape to the World Health Organisation, Oxfam, the media and others to expose how Nestlé's senior staff make demonstrably untrue claims, misrepresent statements made by third parties and suggest Nestlé is working in partnership with organisations which in reality have criticised its practices.

Students organising the debates have been surprised by the condition Nestlé is putting on filming.

Apparently Nestlé is not objecting to the media being present at the debates and, we hope, would not object to filming by media (other than Baby Milk Action), although this may temper what staff say.

If you would like to attend a future debate, please let us know and we will send you details.


  1. Prior to March 2001, Nestlé refused to speak at Universities and most other public fora if Baby Milk Action was present. When we attended the first debate at Cambridge University, we were quickly disappointed to realise that Nestlé's change in behaviour did not signify any willingness to change its baby food marketing policies and practices to bring them into line with World Health Assembly requirements. We put a four-point plan to Nestlé at the debate, asking it to accept the World Health Assembly requirements, with the aim of saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott. Nestlé immediately rejected the plan.

  2. Nestlé's activity in targetting Universities and schools is catalysing student activity, prompting the formation of Baby Milk Action's Student Network. Also see the Education Guardian/ activities surrounding Nestlé's baby milk marketing and Baby Milk Action's Seeing through the Spin education pack.

For further information contact:

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator,
Tel: 01223 464420
Mobile: 07986 736179.


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