Nestle involved in
misinformation to mothers in India -
Network of India (BPNI)
In a four-page article
on 'New Born Care' that appeared in "Meri Saheli" a Hindi magazine
for women (issue August 2000), the information regarding infant
feeding has been found to be misleading and scientifically incorrect.
are the contents of that article found to be incorrect,
should be started as early as possible but there is
no recommendation for this.
2. It is
advised that babies should be exclusively breastfed
for 3 months;
be stopped from 6 month to one year when child starts
eating other foods;
giving the other foods when the child is three month
of not enough milk has been dealt with incorrectly and
milk decreases during sickness;
A careful analysis
and examination by the experts at BPNI revealed that the information
contained in is contrary to the recommendations on Infant feeding
by the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of
India, UNICEF, Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), Breastfeeding
Promotion Network of India (BPNI), and several other international
organizations and experts in the field of child health and nutrition.
correct recommendations for infant feeding are,
should be started within 30-60 minutes after delivery.
should be exclusively breastfed for first six months
should be continued till two years along with appropriate
and timely complementary feeding started at the age
of 6 months.
feeding should be started at the age of 6 months with
to the most updated scientific information mothers who
feel that they don't have enough milk are better investigated
for the reason of this feeling and then encouraged to
breastfeed more frequently to increase breastmilk supply
rather than prescribing drugs or other milks. (A
baby who gains weight adequately that is about 500 grams
a months or passes light colored urine six times a day,
is getting enough breastmilk from the mother)
milk does not decrease during sickness.
This article amounts
to misinformation and misguiding the women of India on this issue.
Needless to say that women in India should receive accurate and
unbiased information on how to feed infants and young children.
(According to studies , in India only 50% babies are exclusively
breastfed up to three months of age and only 33% infants receive
complementary foods at appropriate times).
like this can deteriorate the current prevalence of exclusive
breastfeeding and complementary feeding which can result in increased
infant morbidity and mortality and also malnutrition.
50% space in this four-page article is consumed by the advertisement
of cereal food "Cerelac" manufactured by Nestle. Most visible
images in this article are either of 'Cerelac' or healthy babies.
These pages do not bear any numbering; according to some sources
in the advertisement section of Meri Saheli, Nestle has bought
According to the Infant
Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation
of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 (The IMS
Act) the responsibility of such information lies with the publisher
as well. And our legal analysis says that advert/article attracts
the Section 7 read with the Rules 7 & 9 of the IMS Act.
Notes for the editors
1. The World Health
Assembly adopted the International code of Marketing of Breastmilk
substitutes, in 1981 as a "minimum requirement" to be implemented
by the Member states "in its entirety". Subsequent World Health
assembly resolutions have addressed questions of interpretations
and changes in marketing practices and scientific knowledge.
2. Infant mortality
rate (IMR) in India stands at about 70; that means 70 infants
out of 1000 live births die by the time they reach one year.
3. In India half of
children under five years are either under weight or stunted in
4. The IMS Act was
enacted in 1992 and came into force in 1993.
5. The company Nestle
faces a criminal prosecution in the court of: Law for violating
the labelling provisions (section 6) of the IMS Act.
6. Section 7 of the
IMS Act says that, "
(1) Every educational or other material, whether audio or visual,
dealing with pre-natal or post-natal care or with the feeding
of an infant and intended to reach pregnant women or mothers of
infants shall include clear information relating to Đ
(a) the benefits
and superiority of breastfeeding;
(b) the preparation
for, and the continuance of, breastfeeding;
(c) the harmful
effects on breast-feeding due to the partial adoption of bottle
(d) the difficulties
in reverting to breastfeeding of infants after a period of feeding
by infant milk substitute;
(e) the financial
and social implications in making use of infant milk substitutes
and feeding bottles;
(f) the health
hazards of improper use of infant milk substitutes and feeding
(g) such other
matters as may be prescribed."
7. In May
1999 the UK Advertising Standards Authority upheld all of
Baby Milk Action's (Baby Milk Action is a UK based voluntary organization
for protecting breastfeeding from commercial influence.) complaints
against a Nestle anti-boycott advertisement which the company
claimed to market infant formula "ethically and responsibly"
Dr. Arun Gupta National
Coordinator Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India BP-33, Pitampura,
Delhi 110 034 Tel: 91-11-7443445 Fax: 91-11-7219606
The Breastfeeding Promotion
Network of India (BPNI) is a national network of individuals and
organisations working for protection, promotion and support of
breastfeeding in India. BPNI believes that breastfeeding is the
right of all mothers and children. BPNI works through advocacy,
social mobilization, information sharing, education and training
of health workers and monitoring the compliance of International
Code/The Indian Law to protect breastfeeding. BPNI works as the
Regional Focal Point for South Asia for the World Alliance for
Breastfeeding Action (WABA) & International Baby Food Action Network
(IBFAN). BPNI does not accept funds or sponsorship of any kind
from the companies producing breastmilk substitutes, related equipment
and complementary foods or those have been ever found to violate
the IMS Act or International Code.
Network of India (BPNI)