It's not a free lunch - it's a Nestlé marketing strategy
Nestlé is actively targeting health workers in the UK having completed its takeover of Pfizer Nutrition/Wyeth and the SMA brand of formula in December 2012.
On 24 May 2013 it held an event in Histon, near Cambridge, for midwives and Doulas on water births - though the Nestlé Nutrition representative was also on hand and a session on SMA products was scheduled.
Such events violate World Health Assembly Resolutions on conflicts of interest and so Baby Milk Action was present at the entrance to the Holiday Inn where the event was being staged to inform participants of this fact.
The attached leaflet was provided to anyone willing to take it.
Baby Milk Action is preparing a kit of materials to enable others to do the same wherever Nestlé, its leading competitor, Danone, or other baby food companies target health workers with sponsorship.
As soon as news of the demonstration was posted to social media, experts were offering to provide training without baby food company involvement - free of charge, if necessary.
Following Nestlé's entry into the UK and Irish formula markets in December 2012, when it finalised its takeover of Pfizer Nutrition/Wyeth and the SMA brand, we are starting to see more aggressive baby milk marketing practices, both from Nestlé and its main competitor, Danone.
Danone is second to Nestlé in the global market and both are major sources of violations of the marketing requirements adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA), particularly in Asia. Marketing standards were never very high in the UK, but they are on the slide as this competition reaches our shores. Successive governments have failed to implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant WHA Resolutions in legislation. Therefore, it falls to everyone who cares about infant health and the right of parents, carers and health workers to receive accurate, independent information to join us in saying these minimum requirements should be respected.
The UK Association of Milk Banks (UKAMB) - one of our partners in the Baby Feeding Law Group - is promoting this day in the UK.
Find out more about what is happening on the UK AMB site: http://www.ukamb.org/
For details of the event at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital Milk Bank and how to give your support see:
Please sign this petition addressed to the European Union, calling it to accept that access to water is a human right. See: http://www.right2water.eu/
Nestlé Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, has rejected this view in an interview. Under his principles, water is a foodstuff to be sold at a price. He claims that by placing a value on water it will be treated with more respect. People who are poor and have difficulty accessing water should be given help, he says. Of course, Nestlé aims to make a buck from this process and is actively and agressively appropriating community water supplies, often in the face of opposition and legal challenges from those communities. It tries to divert criticism of these tactics with its CSV strategy, that is its Creative Storystelling Venture, or what it prefers to call Creating Shared Value.
A new monitoring report commissioned by UNICEF Lao has just become available and looks at marketing from November 2011 to January 2012. The monitoring found sales representatives, principally from Nestlé and Danone, targeting health workers, shop keepers and parents.
[Unofficial translation - click here for original article in French]
Le Courrier, 26 January 2013, Saturday
[On the top of the front page]
INFILTRATION OF ATTAC
Nestlé and Securitas lose against ATTAC
A spy hired by Securitas had joined the working group drafting the book Attac contre l’Empire Nestlé [Attac against the Nestlé Empire].
The Civil Tribunal of Lausanne has found Nestlé and Securitas guilty of having spied on ATTAC in the Nestlégate case. In 2003, an agent, acting for the Vevey-based firm, had infiltrated the anti-globalization group.
Nestlé Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, was using his familiar tactic of diversionary tactics in India last month and will be doing so again tomorrow (4 December 2012) at the European Parliament.
Baby Milk Action has been concerned about the impact of FTSE's decision in 2010 to weaken the breastmilk substitutes criteria of its FTSE4Good ethical investment listing, which led to Nestlé being included without having to bring its marketing practices into line with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly.
The Nestlé Chairman dismissed the Nestlé boycott and concerns about the company's baby milk marketing activities in India by referring to FTSE4Good. He told NDTV:
"There are issues that have been in the history of our company, which we can discuss. We feel that we know today we are complying 100% with the WHO Code. We have been recognised. We wouldn't be part of FTSE4Good if we hand't been recognised. We are being investigated independently from us by those institutions and we get the certificate of good behaviour, which I think corresponds to the way we are behaving."
This is misleading on many levels.
Baby Milk Action has been asked to support a campaign in Ireland against baby food companies sponsoring awards to health workers. The event's main sponsor is Pfizer/Wyeth, which is in the process of being taken over by Nestlé, and it uses the awards to promote its SMA brand of formula by calling them the SMA Know-How Maternity and Infant Awards. Danone, manufacturer of Aptamil and Cow & Gate brands, is also trying to get in on the advertising opportunity by using its formula brands for some of the awards.
Earlier this year (June 2012), members of the public protested to shopping centres in the UK that were going to host Pfizer/Wyeth's SMA Baby Know How roadshow and this was cancelled - see press release.
In September 2012, Pfizer/Wyeth was found to have misled parents in an SMA advertising campaign in a ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority - see press release.
As Reuters reported on 19 October 2012, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has linked with various junk food companies, including Nestlé.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has today released a statement distancing itself from the decision to accept money from the food and beverage industry, a decision it describes as "unfortunate".
A representative of the Hipp baby food company was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 You and Yours programme on 5 November 2012, together with Dr. Helen Crawley of the First Steps Nutrition Trust (click here to listen again).
The discussion was about the refusal of Hipp to provide correct guidance on how to reconstitute its powdered infant formula. The facts, as Dr. Crawley explained, are clear. The Department of Health confirmed its guidance had not changed, despite Hipp claiming in the programme that it had been given permission to flout the guidance.