36: July 2005
Table of Contents
IBFAN 2006 Breastfeeding
calendar now available in the on-line Virtual
The Resolutions calls for Member States to take action in four key areas in the context of the continued protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding outlined in the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding and;
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (which sets global food standards, see page 8) is requested to reflect WHO policy in its global standard setting, specifically the International Code and its subsequent, relevant Resolutions.
Many of the 50 delegates who took the floor in the debate made empassioned pleas that the Assembly should not put commercial interests before the health of children. They called for a tough stand against health and nutrition claims and inappropriate sponsorship and for warnings on labels.
Intrinsic contamination: Contamination by Enterobacter Sakazakii and other pathogens that occurs during the manufacturing process.
Inappropriate sponsorship: Funding by the baby feeding and related industries.
Health and nutrition claims: Statements implying a health advantage.
The European Commission, the USA and other countries with strong dairy industries, pressured for compromises. Because of this the final text contains some clauses which could be exploited by the baby food industry. The task now is to ensure implementation of the Resolution at national level in a way that will protect infant health.
Baby Milk Action joined
IBFAN’s team, which provided
technical briefings to delegates
on their request.
The intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formula used for replacement feeding of babies of HIV-infected mothers was a key issue at the Assembly.
African delegates expressed concern about the situation that HIV-infected mothers face. Many believed that Africa was being used as a dumping ground for contaminated and out-of-date products. Speaking on behalf of the Africa Region, the delegate from Madagascar said:
"For most mothers, who for one reason or another, including for HIV reasons, choose to use formulas, their only source of product information is via labels. It is therefore imperative that they are made aware of the deadly risks arising from intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formulas by the highly virulent pathogen Enterobacter sakazakii. We now understand that these products are a real danger...that these risks are higher for infants of low-birth weight, premature or immuno-compromised, as many in our region would be."
Meanwhile two important pieces of research have been published.
The Zimbabwean Zvitambo study, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and USAID, followed more than 2,000 infants from birth to two years (ref: 1 Iliff et al. Early exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of postnatal HIV1 transmission and increases HIV-free survival. AIDS 2005, 19:699-708). The babies receiving mixed feeding were three times more likely to become HIV infected than those fed nothing but breastmilk in the early months. The study concluded that exclusive breastfeeding may substantially reduce breastfeeding-associated HIV transmission. A study of 9,424 infants and their mothers in Ghana, India and Peru drew similar conclusions about predominant breastfeeding (ref: Bahl et al. Infant feeding patterns and risks of death and hospitalization in the €rst half of infancy: multi-centre cohort study. WHO Bulletin, June 2005).
A study in Durban of feeding bottles used by mothers given free Nestlé Pelargon (an acidified milk that Nestlé claims reduces contamination risk) found two thirds of the bottles were contaminated with faecal bacteria. The women were better educated and wealthier than the majority of the population. Most had some secondary education and refrigerators. Despite the free formula, overdilution of feeds was still a problem (ref: ftp://ftp.hst.org.za/pubs/pmtct/infant_milk.pdf).
|Ms Elena Salgado presents the 2005 Sasakawa Health Prize to IBFAN’s Dr Marcos Arana, Director of the Centre for Training & Education in Ecology and Health for Peasants in Mexico. The prize was given for the Centre’s work in establishing health services for the indigenous communities of Chiapas, the encouragement and support of breastfeeding being an integral part of this.|
We are alarmed by the
suggestion of researchers at Bath
University that NGOs working in
Africa should trial its new infant
formula with HIV-infected mothers.
Please contact us if you are approached.
The lobby to bring the European Directive and UK legislation into line with the International Code and Resolutions is reaching a crucial point. Meanwhile, monitoring by the Baby Feeding Law Group and by Trading Standards Officers and by Trading Standards Officers demonstrates ongoing illegal promotion in the UK and the failure of some authorities to act.
In its White Paper, Choosing Health, Making Healthier Choices Easier, the UK Government makes a clear commitment to improve UK legislation on infant feeding.The Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) has met with the Department of Health (DH) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to see what changes can be made now to strengthen the European Union Directive (the Directive).
The UK is currently President of the European Union. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) represents the UK at the Expert Meetings in Brussels. The FSA report from March indicates that the UK led the call for a strengthening of the Directive, raising many of IBFAN's recommendations. Several other EU Member States are calling for improvements as are the leading European NGOs and professional bodies concerned with health. Their submissions are on the Commission website (see below). The next Expert Meeting is in September.
In 2000, EU Heads of State agreed to make the EU “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010.” Will the Commission put the interests of the baby food industry above infant health in pursuit of this goal?
For comments made by UK health worker organisations and to support the campaign see the policy zone.
IBFAN and BFLG are calling for a complete ban on follow-on milk promotion because it undermines breastfeeding and infant health.
An NCT survey found that 36% of 7,729 respondents believed they had seen infant formula advertising in the media - even though the product was likely to be follow-on milk. Another NCT survey showed that some breastfeeding women changed from breastfeeding to infant or follow-on formula milk because they had been convinced their baby needed more iron. See briefing: Follow-on formulas:are they necessary? should they be promoted?
Most advertising of breastmilk substitutes in the media exploits grey areas of the law and companies assume authorities will not be prepared to act. Following on from the many complaints about the Milupa adverts in the Independent (see below).
Gloucestershire Trading Standards has agreed to investigate the 10 May ad which they class as an infringement of the Regulations. They have also agreed to examine Milupa's and other websites for infringements.
Meanwhile, a report of a survey by Food Standards Enforcement Officers from the Greater Gwent Food Group recommends a revision of the Trading Standards (TS) guidance to the UK Regulations. They say that the lack of clarity in the current guidelines hinders the effectiveness of the enforcing bodies, to the detriment of mothers and infants. If new Guidance is not forthcoming the Group will pursue amendments to the Regulations.
Our complaints to Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and (ASA) and Trading Standards about Farley's formula TV ads on the Discovery Health Channel were rejected. The ads, which ran in September 2004, showed a mother and baby, a packshot and the word 'safeguard', while the voiceover said: "Safeguard. Baby Talk in association with Farley's. Closer by nature. www.farleyscloserbynature.com". This is a website which promotes the entire Farley's range. Ofcom's pretext for inaction was that the pack-shot was not for infant formula. ASA's excuse was that it was 'sponsorship' which they don't deal with. Most people who contacted us thought the ad was for infant formula. We are considering a judicial review of Ofcom and Lynne Jones MP has asked questions about the ASA in Parliament.
Further details of the aggressive Farley's campaign (including a clip of the advertisement) are included in the press release: EU Commission fails mothers and babies. Frustrated health worker bodies call for action at the European Union this week to stop baby milk advertising.
Health workers have been outraged by the series of full-page Milupa advertisements in the Independent newspaper which started during National Breastfeeding Week in May. The Independent was advised by its lawyers that if Milupa added the word 'Forward' to its logo the ads would probably be legal and there would be no grounds to stop them.
The advertorial (11.06.05) was especially disturbing. It pretended to support breastfeeding, but referred to mothers being 'blistered to buggery' while doing it.
The advert on 10th May boasted the supposed health benefits of the Long-Chain Fatty Acids (LCPUFAs) added to Milupa formulas. The Cochrane Library's review of the evidence states: “No long-term benefits were demonstrated for infants receiving formula supplemented with LCPUFA.
See the site http://www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk/ to register aggressive marketing and to report it to the authorites and information on how you can help with the European Directive campaign.
Nestlé is promoting a new video on breastfeeding targeted at teenagers.
Midwife advisor, Chris Sidgwick, is helping Nestlé, and admits that part of its purpose is to encourage midwives to question support for the boycott.
The video flouts UK regulations, defies WHA Resolutions on conflict of interest and could undermine breastfeeding. Like many industry materials it appears to be supportive of breastfeeding, but then focuses on negative experiences, giving no advice on overcoming problems, nor information about the risks of artificial feeding.
Good breastfeeding practices top the list of interventions to reduce under-5 mortality. It would save more lives than other key preventive measures such as immunisation, safe water and sanitation (ref. Jones et al. How many child deaths can we prevent this year? The Lancet, Vol 362 July 5, 2003 65-71 Child survival 11).
As policy makers struggle to fulfill the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two thirds by 2015, effective and comprehensive controls on marketing which protect and support breastfeeding are imperative.
Countries which support breastfeeding and have good comprehensive marketing controls which are monitored and enforced show increased breastfeeding rates and reduced sales of breastmilk substitutes. Aggressive marketing continues elsewhere, especially in Asia, which is seen as a strong growth area for industry.
Monitoring has highlighted company promotion of breastmilk substitutes in Botswana (see example targeted by Baby Milk Action's Campaign for Ethical Marketing), so the news that this country adopted one of the strongest laws in Africa on 8th June was greeted with joy by the IBFAN network. Botswana now joins other African countries with good laws, such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It is hoped that this will spur other countries in the region such as South Africa (see action sheet) and Lesotho, where companies are pushing in the opposite direction.
Key points in Botswana's Marketing of Foods for Infants and Young Children Regulation:
independent monitoring which is mainstreamed and requires health workers to keep a record of contraventions;
a ban on practices that create an association between companies and breastfeeding;
a ban on free or low cost supplies and a ban on the sale of expired products;
a ban on all commercial support and benefits for health workers, including equipment, and any services which refer to company names or logos.
a ban on nutrition and health claims, pictures of infants, women, animals or toys or any symbol depicting a health advantage.
|The Tanzanian Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) has prohibited the import of Nestlé's breastmilk substitutes carrying the large 'nest' logo which now dominates the front panel of its tins (Nestlé only uses this logo on its formula products).|
TDFA has also banned Nestlé's Blue Bears which appear on the Cerelac brands. TDFA say brands.
TDFA say the logos - which Nestlé has now removed - violate the International Code and the 1994 Tanzanian and the 1994 Tanzanian Regulations.
Baby foods sales in Ghana are falling (see Ghana Web report) and breastfeeding rates rising (ref. The Ghana Demographic Health Survey Report, 2003) thanks to a strong law implementing the International Code and Resolutions and and requiring the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding (also see Update 31 article Threat to Ghana's law overturned).
According to theAccra Daily Mail (27 April) the National Co-ordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Regulation Committee, Mrs Goski Alabi, indicated: “the supposed decline in infantile diarrhoea cases among babies in the hospitals was indicative of the practice of exclusive breastfeeding to a large extent.“ Monitoring was conducted in Ho Municipality. The paper noted: “Despite the general decline in sales, shops still continue to stock and hang out promotional signs about such infant formulas.”
UNICEF sponsored the monitoring exercise, which found illegal promotion of baby milk in hospitals.
IBFAN breathed a sigh of relief at the news that the Breastfeeding Protection Network for India (BPNI) had successfully persuaded the Indian government not to repeal its strong Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (IMS) Act. The Act was already showing clear signs of working, with the decine in breastfeeding rates halted and sales of breastmilk substitutes falling (ref. Hindu Business Line, Chennai, India, 15.08.04).
In January there were fears that a Food Safety and Standards Bill, under the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, would strike it down. BPNI mobilized an international campaign and the IMS Act was saved.
China's law and its implementation is weak. According to China Daily, half of all newborns are fed formula. Health officials report that Chinese mothers increasingly believe formula is more nutritious than breastmilk.
However, consumer confidence in the quality control of the dairy industry is falling. In 2004 12 babies died who were fed with an inadequate locally-produced formula. Incidents of reprocessing of expired milk and pre-dating products occured later.
Then in May 2005 Nestlé's infant formula was removed from supermarket shelves after health authorities found that it contained excess iodine. Nestlé belatedly apologized for deviating from the national standard after the media reports. Initially it blamed its milk suppliers. An online survey showed that 87% of consumers said they would stop purchasing Nestlé products, primarily because of the firm’s lukewarm response. China Daily says that many people believe that Nestlé reacted "with the speed and alacrity of a sailor drunk on shore leave.", (see Update 35, China Daily 27& 29 May, 10 & 23 June).
In 2004 the Latvian Paediatric Association (LPA) allowed the words, “Recommended by the Latvian Paediatric Association” on the label of Nestlé's Nan HA infant formula. In a letter to the Latvian Ministry of Health and to LPA the Latvian IBFAN group, LKEVAB, alleged that this was inappropriate, and against the International Code and national Latvian regulations.
The LPA took LKEVAB to court for “withdrawal of honour and pride-injuring news” and asked and asked for financial compensation.
The court decision, reached in mid- May, found the LPA’s claim to be groundless and confirmed that the information in the LKEVAB letter was true. The LPA has appealed.
See Update 35 for concerns about the term 'HA' which is banned in the USA.
Professional endorsements and the funding that prestigious NGOs can derive from food marketing are issues debated in relation to draft European health claims regulations.
The 2005 principles of the International Paediatric Association are important, stating that: “The IPA will not involve itself in endorsement or marketing of products” and and that “Member societies must be accountable to ethical standards consistent with IPA policy”.
INFORM, a body that describes itself as ‘working toward informed choice in infant feeding' was set up by the baby food industry cartel, the Infant and Dietetic Food Association (IDFA) to campaign against any strengthening of the UK law.
In 1997 the Baby Feeding Law Group, exposed the way that INFORM was claiming to work on behalf of parents, but failing to mention its relationship with IDFA. BFLG Members had rung INFORM for information (prompted by its free phone card) and were then sent baby food promotional materials.
INFORM went quiet for a while but has now resurfaced, running health worker seminars entitled ‘ Breast and bottle: is “better” always best?’ (organised by on-line magazine Spiked) and commissioning research. The report carried out by Prof Frank Furedi from the University of Kent, Mothers’ experience of, and attitudes to, using infant formula in the early months, generated media headlines such as: "Breast may not be best after all, says professor."
The report shows an astonishing ignorance of the value of breastfeeding: only 39% think that breastfeeding is natural and that all mothers can do it. 40% disagreed. (See reports in Update 21, Update 22, Update 23, Update 25).
Sensational headlines around the world suggested that American women's breastmilk is contaminated with dangerous levels of percholate, a chemical found in rocket fuel. This chemical reduces iodine levels.
Concerned by the misleading messages, the author of the original study, Purnendu K Dasgupta, stressed through a mother-support website that this small study (36 mothers) suggested a need to examine iodine supplementation of salt. Dasgupta said:
“Even in my wildest imagination it did not cross my mind to advise someone to stop breastfeeding just because perchlorate is detectable in breast milk. I truly regret if our paper has caused any one to stop breastfeeding even for a day. We can detect almost anything at some level in almost anything.”
Obesity is now a global pandemic which is decimating health care budgets worldwide.
The invitation to IBFAN to join the European Commission's Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health is a clear signal that at least one part of the Commission recognises the potential of breastfeeding to reduce obesity levels and improve long-term health. The Platform aims to provide a forum for discussion for the key players in the food industry and NGO sectors. Participants must make commitments to help halt the rise in obesity in Europe. We are calling for the commitments to be concrete and measurable and to be independently monitored.
IBFAN's commitments are outlined in the Blueprint for action on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding in Europe. The Commission has promised to examine all its policies for 'obesity proofing' so we are asking it to look at its own proposals on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes which fly in the face of the stated aims of the Initiative.
A seven-year study, just completed by the WHO, shows that babies exclusively breastfed for six months are healthier and leaner than artificially fed babies.
Artificially-fed infants consume 30,000 more calories than breastfed infants by 8 months of age. (Riordan et al, Breastfeeding & Human Lactation, Jones and Bartlett 1999) Kvaavik et al, Surveys of Norwegian youth indicated that breast feeding reduced subsequent risk of obesity, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Vol 58, Issue 8, Aug 05. Breastfeeding Briefs 38.
The Blueprint for Action can be
downloaded from: http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_projects/2002/promotion/
TThe UK Children’s Food Bill campaign is calling for a ban on junk food promotion to children, is supported by us and 136 national organisations.
A summary of its new report, containing the famous UNICEF picture of a mother and her twins, was sent to every MP in June as the Bill was reintroduced to Parliament.
The report uses IBFAN's Case Studies report and other campaigns to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of voluntary, industry-agreed approaches.
A baby dies every 30 seconds from unsafe bottle feeding. The photograph right tells the tragic story of the fatalities that occur due to unsafe bottle feeding. The babies are twins: the child with the bottle is a girl - she died the day after this photograph was taken - but her brother was breastfed and thrived.
The mother was told that she would not have enough milk for both children, and so she breasted her son and bottle-fed her daughter. But she would almost certainly have been able to feed both her babies, since the more a baby suckles, the more milk is produced.
Use my picture if it will help," said this mother at the Children's Hosptial, Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: UNICEF.
Available in the Virtual Shop.
The US Government has always had the last word on the selection of the Executive Director of UNICEF. Ann Veneman, former US Secretary of Agriculture to the Bush Administration, began a 5-year term as Executive Director of UNICEF in May, succeeding Carol Bellamy. The appointment has caused concern amongst some NGOs, who have highlighted the need for reform of the UN's selection procedure.
The People’s Health Movement, a global coalition of grassroots activists and academics, launched a ‘UNICEF WATCH’ to monitor UNICEF's activities. For more information: http://www.phmovement.org/
IBFAN partners in Armenia are calling for renewed action to hold Hipp to account for its promotion of complementary foods for use before the appropriate age, including infant teas labelled for use from one week. Hipp recently launched TV advertisements. Campaigning stopped similar practices from Nestlé in 2003 (click here for details). Support the campaign against Hipp at http://www.ibfan.org/hipp/
The Codex Alimentarius Commission sets global food standards and we attend its meetings as the International Organisation of Consumer Food Organisations (IACFO).
After the November 2004 nutrition meeting we joined the Electronic Working Group on the composition of infant formulas. Prof. Koletzko of the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) was asked by the Codex Chair to convene an Expert Panel to report to this group in collaboration with FISPGHAN, its international federation. The Codex Procedural Manual (14th edition) has strict transparency requirements for experts responsible for risk assessment but our requests for the experts' declarations of interest have so far been refused.
Prof Dr Przyrembel, the Chair of the Working Group says that the Manual does not apply because the working group was convened by ESPGHAN on the invitation of Codex - not convened by Codex itself. Prof Przyrembel says that the experts have "proven their disinterestedness simply by being ready to write statements and comments and to travel long distances to meet for two and a half days of intensive discussions."
The Asian Tsunami disaster required not only quick deployment of aid, but a rapid response from IBFAN to highlight the danger of inappropriate donations. The Infant Feeding in Emergencies briefing on the IBFAN website was highlighted and work done with agencies, the media and donors to draw attention to guidelines developed with emergency experts. Donations of formula are dangerous and cause more problems than they solve. If breastmilk substitutes are needed, it is far better to source them locally. IBFAN groups in the region were directly involved in providing support to mothers (click here for details).
Baby Milk Action's past campaign supporting the Sri Lankan government in requiring labels to be in local languages (despite opposition from Nestlé) proved its worth once again.
We have commented
proposals on bottled water
drawn up by the Food Standards
Agency which would allow
products to carry a "suitable for
infant feeding" statement.
This would make them breastmilk
substitutes and promotion should
be completely prohibited. We
have also raised concerns about
the environmental impact of
encouraging bottled water use.
Thanks to members who attended our AGM in Cambridge on 2nd April. We welcome Julie Dyball and Lisa Northover who were elected to the Board of Directors.
Dr. Diamond Emmanuel was a very welcome guest speaker who related his first-hand experience of the dangers of artificial feeding in Pakistan and the tactics used by baby food companies. Dr. Diamond was a witness to threats made by Nestlé executives against whistleblower Syed Aamar Raza, after Aamar issued a Legal Notice against the company. Aamar decided to speak out about bribary of doctors and other aggressive marketing practices after a 4-month-old child died as a result of not being breastfed while he was visting Dr. Diamond's hospital.
Aamar remains in exile and has not seen his wife or children for over 5 years. See http://www.supportaamarraza.org/
Click here for the Year Report presented to the meeting.
Nearly half (45%) of Baby Milk Action's income comes from membership fees, donations and merchandise sales. Many thanks to all our supporters. Please visit the the on-line Virtual Shop to contribute to our work in these ways.
Our work currently benefits from grants from:
Grant income, expenditure and staff hours have all declined in recent years (our three main staff members can only be paid for 2 or 3 day weeks at present).
Firstly the European Union ended funding to many UK organisations with an apparent shif in focus to the countries it funds to the East and South of the EU.
More recently smaller funders have re-directed funds to this year's Make Poverty History campaign.
Attempting to replace this funding is a constant pressure on limited staff time and any extra income can make an immediate difference to what we are able to do. If you have contact with a grant-making body or suggestions of any to approach, please contact us.
2006 Breastfeeding Calendar
Now in its 11th year. 12 fantastic full-colour A4 photos from around the world. Still only £5. Click here to view.
What Mothers Do - especially when it looks like nothing
A unique and perceptive look at mothering by psychotherapist and breastfeeding counsellor, Naomi Stadlen. Empowering and reassuring, 2004. £12
Breast is Best
by Baby Milk Action Advisor, Dr Penny Stanway.
Fully revised and up-dated edition of this indispensible guide, June 2005. £10
|If you are in the UK, why not nominate her for the Julie Crawford Award, 2005? We are seeking nominations for the third Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Julie Crawford Award for breastfeeding Support. Julie was a health visitor and a Director of Baby Milk Action who died in November 2001.|
The award was set by the Baby Feeding Law Group to honor health visitors who make a significant contribution to the protection of breastfeeding, facilitating universal access to support that is free from commercial influence.
For criteria and how to nominate see: www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk
Deadline September 14th.
Anstey We were very sad to hear of the death in February of long-term Baby Milk Action and La Leche League member, Anstey, who volunteered in the office for several years. We send our love to Colin and their children.
Click here to download this great new logo donated to us by graphic designer, Rebecca Clark.
Nestlé won a global internet poll for the world's 'least responsible company' coinciding with the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2005. Nestlé received 29% of the votes. This was more than twice that of joint second Monsanto and Dow Chemicals (of Bhopal infamy), each on 14% (click here for details).
In contrast to the global vote, Nestlé's new Commitment to Africa report, the company is viewed as one of the most ethical companies. The report includes audits of the company's infant formula marketing in three African countries. The auditors, Bureau Veritas, found code violations, but did not classify them as such because they followed Nestlé's weaker interpretation rather than the World Health Assembly measures. Bureau Veritas has told IBFAN it is not at liberty to discuss its findings.
For an exposé of the company's untrue claims download Nestlé's Public Relations Machine Exposed.
Boycott supporters presented institutional investors with our 10 Facts leaflet (click here to download) as they arrived at Nestlé's high-profile London launch of its Commitment to Africa report. Investment bankers Goldman Sachs asked several questions about Nestlé's baby food marketing. In response Nestlé claimed that its marketing code in Africa is even stronger than the International Code!
The event was broadcast on the web (click here for press release)
download hi-resolution version for printing.
Questions about Nestlé's baby food marketing were once again raised at its shareholder meeting in Lausanne in April.
plan to break good governance guidelines by making
Chief Executive, Peter Brabeck,
Chairman of the Board as well, provoked a major shareholder
rebellion. A record number of shareholders supported a motion to block the proposals, but since Nestlé controls a big percentage of the shares, the protest failed.
Baby Milk Action has complained to the board about Mr. Brabeck's activities. Now he is Chair, this seems even more pointless.
In March 2005, Mr. Brabeck stunned business leaders in Boston, when, according to the Boston Herald (9 March), he spoke against philanthropy, saying that companies should only pursue charitable endeavours with the intention of making money for investors. He asked, “What the hell have we taken away from society by being a successful company that employs people?”
Campaigners against Nestlé's Pure Life water bottling operations water bottling operations in the historic Brazilian spa town of Sao Lourenco (Boycott News 35) have been stunned by the latest turn of events. In response to legal challenges, Nestlé stopped Pure Life production on 31st October 2004, but continues to pump the naturally-carbonated water to extract the gas. The Ministry of Health set up a working group to investigate how to regulate the use of mineral water springs.
Before the working group had even had its first meeting, Nestlé, through the Brazilian bottled water industry association, was involved in setting up a new permanent committee which will regulate mineral water under the Department of Mineral Resources. The Committee calls for the industrialization of mineral water resources. It has the power to legitimize Nestlé's Pure Life operation and authorize health claims on bottled water - a marketing gift which could create a new export market in medicinal bottled waters.
Campaigners are concerned that the environmental damage to the park in Sao Lourenco and the impact on tourism will worsen. The public prosecutor's legal battle for compensation for the town continues.
The picture right shows how the trees are dying close to Nestlé's borehole and factory.
BBC Radio 4 Face the Facts examined Nestlé in Sao Lourenco on 22nd July. Click here to listen to the archived programme and for further information.
Mike Brady, Baby Milk Action's Campaigns and Networking Coordinator, has visited São Lourenço and has documented the full story of Nestlé's illegal activities in the park and the legal battle to stop them. Right is an extract from Nestlé's own Environmental Impact Assessment, which shows the factory is built in the area of highest risk to the aquifer, contrary to Federal Law (DNPM 231/98).
Annotations by Baby Milk Action.
The Brazilian Catholic and Evangelical Churches have joined forces with their Swiss counterparts calling for the United Nations to protect water as a human right, rather than simply an economic resource at the next World Water Forum is in Mexico in March 2006.
Baby Milk Action is organising a seminar on Nestlé's impact in São Lourenço and initiatives to protect the right to water and will share its experiences in regulating the baby food industry. Contact us for further information.
The 5th Tap Water Awards, the alternative to the Nestlé-owned Perrier Comedy Award, will celebrate performers who use the arts to educate and encourage critical thinking, rather than solely to entertain and earn. 28th August from 10.00pm at the Bongo Club, Venue 143, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh Tel: 0131 558 7604. See http://www.tapwaterawards.org/
The annual demonstration at Nestlé (UK) HQ in Croydon took place on 21 May 2005. This was preceded by action at a Nescafe café in Bristol on 7 May 2005. The Bristol event arose from a workshop on the boycott at an African Initiatives event, Don't Agonise, Organise.
Contact us for help with demonstrations.
Infact Canada, coordinator of the North American Nestlé boycott, persuaded Ottawa Children Hospital to cancel the Pediatric Nutrition Day planned in February with sponsorship from Mead Johnson and Nestlé.
WomenAid International-Caucasus and WomenAid International withdrew from the‘ Forum on World Environment Day' held in June in Tbilisi, Georgia because it was sponsored by Nestlé.
Ines Osborne, a Baby Milk Action and NCT member, has written to Cancer Research to say she has withdrawn from the Liverpool Race for Life fund-raising event in July because Nestlé goodie bags are handed out to to runners (if you are taking part and would like to distribute boycott leaflets at the end of the race, please contact us). Others are complaining to Tesco about Nestlé promotion on milk cartons.
Yet more thanks to everyone at Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington, Kent for their spectacular donation of £1,148. The school hosted a debate between Nestlé and Baby Milk Action in May 2004. After hearing both sides, they adopted our campaign and ran a week of special events such as, cake sales, lunchtime music, fame academy and early morning breakfast bar.
For details of a past debate between Nestlé and Baby Milk Action click here. A video can be ordered in the on-line Virtual Shop. If you would like to organise a debate at your school, college, church, trade union or other venue, contact us.
Rowntree's Jellies are on the boycott list as Nestlé profits from the use of the Rowntree name, although this product is now made by Premier Foods. Premier Foods is rebranding the products as Hartley's Jellies to escape the Nestlé link. Watch out for the change in the shops.