It has been a busy month for Nestlé as it tries to remake the world in its own image. It culminated in Nestlé announcing "The first comprehensive nutrition system for babies", a machine that squirts out milk into feeding bottles for new borns (click here for our press release and quote). How on earth has the human race survived without there being a way to provide nutrition to its young? In Nestlé's world, the past is prelude and the fact that babies were once nurtured by milk produced by their mothers' bodies is to be consigned to our primitive past it seems. Nestlé, Good Grief!.
Nestlé, Good Grief!
This Nestlé, Good Grief! jingle by Nick Rundall can be used as a ringtone or text/email alert on your mobile phone - a fun way to raise the Nestlé boycott! It is also played by the widget you can add to your website or blog.
Baby Milk Action will be joining partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) in Geneva on 12 May to present the latest global report on baby food company marketing practices.
The Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2010 monitoring report has examples of violations from 46 countries. There are profiles of 11 leading baby food companies, with market leaders Nestlé and Danone responsible for many of the violation examples included.
The most common questions asked by parents and carers who intend to use infant formula are probably, ‘Which formula is the best?’ and ‘How do I make a bottle?’ A new film for health workers developed by Baby Milk Action with Mark-It TV and the Baby Feeding Law Group, aims to equip health workers with the information they need to answer these questions and others. A DVD can be ordered from Baby Milk Action's online Virtual Shop with a public performance licence - click here.
Headlines claiming that scientists have produced 'breastmilk' from Genetically Modified (GM) cows should sound alarm bells for policy makers as they vote this week in the European Parliament on whether to improve measures for approving health claims on formula. Firstly, this story demonstrates once again that existing formulas lack many of the components found in breatmilk, three of which the researchers claim now to be able to produce from different GM cows. Given the existing misleading claims that formula companies put on labels, about how their formula boosts the immune system and supports brain and eye development for example, over a third of parents already believe formula is "very similar or the same" as breastmilk according to a survey by the UK Department of Health. Secondly, the GM cow's are not producing 'human breast milk' (hence the quotes in the reports), but are potentially a source of some of the missing components. Other components, some of which may still need to be discovered, and living substances, are not being produced by the cows and the milk will still require subsequent processing even if it was found to be beneficial and safe (aside from animal welfare and environmental considerations).
Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted their representatives in the European Parliament asking them to vote in favour of a Resolution to protect the rights of parents and carers to accurate information on infant formula. We know it is having an impact because those defending the rights of the baby food industry to put misleading claims onto formula are becoming more active and Mead Johnson has apparently hired an expensive Public Relations firm, to lobby politicians. We need the voices of the public to counter this offensive. Click here if you have not yet sent a message to your representatives in the European Parliament yet or to spread the word if you have. If you want to know the detail of what is taking place, read on.
Get ready for another round of 'Breast not best' headlines in the UK that will echo around the world as a book by Joan Wolf, a political scientist, is launched here. It has the title: "Is Breast Best?: Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood" and Joan Wolf is speaking on it at a conference on 21 March.
As Nestlé goes on a Public Relations (PR) offensive trying to improve its image by linking to the Fairtrade name during International Nestlé-Free Week, it is a great opportunity to tell people why to boycott Nestlé Fairtrade KitKat, its token Fairtrade chocolate bar, involving just 2.6% of its cocoa purchase. You can download our leaflet 'Why boycott Nestlé Fairtrade KitKat' by clicking here. You can also invite your friends to the event on Facebook event - click here - and adapt our suggested message (given below) for posting as a comment on articles that highlight KitKat without mentioning other concerns.
Well, today we were alerted by a member, Anne Adamson, to a promotion of Nescafe - right outside our office in Cambridge.
We went downstairs with a couple of placards and some leaflets.
As we prepared to take some pictures the group leader kept moving the promotion further and further down the street, threatening to sue us if we showed his face in our picture.
Nestlé opened nominations for its Creating Shared Value prize this February 2011. The company could improve its public image by accepting Baby Milk Action's four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott - but instead it is opening its cheque book to try to buy itself some good publicity by co-opting the good reputation of others. However, there is a risk that anyone supporting Nestlé's Creating Shared Value award will find they are dragged down by association with one of the world's four most boycotted companies. And as news breaks in the UK about companies infiltrating environmental groups, we should remember that Nestlé is being pursued through the courts in Switzerland after spying on campaigners there.