Press releases

Prof Michael Latham Dies at 82


Professor Michael Latham, a longtime friend of Baby Milk Action, IBFAN and WABA,  and one of the giants in the long struggle to protect breastfeeding  from commercial misinformation,  died in Boston on Friday 1st April at 82. 


Patti Rundall said "Michael was a total inspiration to so many people and continued to be incredibly active and focused on the latest threats to infant health,  right up to the end, co-authoring a key article about the risks of reliance on  fortified foods just a few months ago.  I will truly miss his guidance and his friendship.  He was a wonderful, warm, wise and generous man and it was a priviledge to have known him."


Michael directed the Program in International Nutrition at Cornell University for 25 years, first encountered the problems of nutrition in the developing world while practicing medicine as a young doctor for the British colonial service in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).   


In his 1976 report,  written with Ted Greiner  he said: “the media onslaught is terrific, the messages are powerful and the profits are high.” “High also is the resultant human suffering.”



See article in the New York Times - which sadly repeats misinformation, saying that Nestlé  "agreed in 1984 to abide by the marketing code."

 Tibutes can be found on the WABA website:

Nestle to be challenged over baby food marketing at AGM in Lausanne, Switzerland, 14th April

Nestle will be challenged once more over its baby food marketing by Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director of Baby Milk Action and Ina Verzivolli from GIFA, IBFAN's Geneva office, who will be attending the Nestlé Shareholder Meeting in Lausanne tomorrow.

An Open Letter (see links below)  has been sent to  Ann Veneman, the former Executive Director of UNICEF who is planning to join the Nestlé Board of Directors.  IBFAN is asking her not to take this step or at the very least to make it conditional on Nestle agreeing to the Four Point Plan which was drawn up by the International Nestlé Boycott Committee and aims to save infant lives and lead ultimately to the end of the 20-country Nestlé boycott.  The four-point plan requires Nestle to bring its marketing policies and practice into line with the international standards that UNICEF and WHO have championed for decades. 


see Reuters : 

 Uproar at ex-UNICEF boss joining Nestle board by Stephanie Nebehay


  • Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK and is embroiled in controversy over its sponsorship of the London Marathon on Sunday


For more information contact: Patti Rundall: + 44 7786 523493 or Mike Brady: +44 7986 736179






European Parliament votes to block DHA health claim - but not by a large enough majority to guarantee action by the Commission

Enfamil smEnfamil smPress release 6 April 2011

Media coverage: The Telegraph (11 April 2011), The Independent (6 April), Press Association (6 April).

CLICK HERE for DHA briefing

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted today in favour of a Resolution to block a disputed DHA health claim on follow-on formula labels, but were short of the absolute majority of all MEPs (including  the 57 not present) required to compel the European Commission to act.  The vote was 328 for the Resolution and 323 against, but this was insufficient to block the claim: “DHA intake contributes to the normal visual development of infants up to 12 months of age”. 

Click here to find out which MEPs voted for and against the Resolution.

This is the first time since the Health Claims Regulations were passed in 2006 that the Parliament has voted on a claim. The Resolution came to the full Plenary following a positive vote by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee in March.

London Marathon sponsor Nestlé 'Pure Life' bottled water criticised

Nestlé, the UK's most boycotted company over its marketing of baby milk, is trying to improve its image by sponsoring the London Marathon on Sunday 17 April 2011 with its 'Pure Life' bottled water brand, but is also attracting criticism over the impact of its bottled water operation. Nestlé Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, has highlighted his involvement in the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, but this received the Public Eye Greenwash Award in January 2010 for its role in covering up corporate malpractice (sponsored by the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace). Nestlé promotion of 'Pure Life' at the London Marathon comes after it was driven from the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006 where it sponsored the Perrier Award - Nestlé took over Perrier in 1992 and was targeted by celebrities such as Emma Thompson and Steve Coogan, winners of the award before Nestlé's takeover.

Will FTSE4Good's Nestle gamble work?

Press release 21 March 2011

In a move that is causing confusion amongst investors and health campaigners FTSE4Good, an ethical investment listing, has weakened its criteria for the marketing of breastmilk substitutes to allow companies onto the list even while they are violating international minimum standards. Nestlé, added to the list today as a consequence, was excluded until now as it did not comply with the provisions of the previous criteria. Nestlé is the target of an international boycott promoted by Baby Milk Action as it is judged to be the worst of the baby food companies in monitoring conducted around the world. 

Update 11 July 2011Click here for Baby Milk Action's briefing recommending that people who want to hold baby food companies to account DO NOT invest in a FTSE4Good tracker.

Infant Formula Explained DVD offers health workers objective, independent information

Press release 18 March 2011

Several new films on infant formula are now available for health workers who provide guidance to parents and carers who have indicated they intend to formula feed. The films are available as the Infant Formula Explained DVD or electronically for hospital intranets and have been produced by the Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) and Mark-it Television as independent resources suitable for use in UNICEF Baby Friendly accredited facilities. They feature interviews with experts to help health workers answer the questions parents ask, such as 'Which is the best infant formula?', 'Which is the closest to breastmilk?' and 'How do you make up formula properly?' A film on how to reconstitute powdered infant formula in line with World Health Organisation guidance is included in the package.

European Parliamentarians oppose bogus baby food health claim


European Parliamentarians oppose bogus health claim

16th March - Brussels

Members of the European Parliament have moved to block a baby food company from using a health claim on labels of follow-on formula.

Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support 2011

Jane Putsey receives awardJane Putsey receives award

The Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support 2011

Julie Carter-Lindsay, Jo Dobson, Sue Anslow, Nicky Harrison, Sam Whittle and Kathleen Freear

Jane Putsey (second from the right) receives the award from Baby Milk Action staff.


The Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support for 2011 was won by 6 health visitor

representatives on the Infant Feeding Information Team of Blackpool and North Lancashire (IFIT):  Julie Carter-Lindsay, Jo Dobson, Sue Anslow, Nicky Harrison, Sam Whittle and Kathleen Freear.  The Awards were presented to Jane Putsey, the Chair of IFIT at Baby Milk Action’s Annual General Meeting in London on the 5th March.


One of the judges, Obi Amadi, Lead Professional Officer, UNITE/CPHVA, says:"I am delighted to see how the  winning health visitor representatives have been key to IFITs success, helping create a fantastic model that I hope will be picked up by other regions throughout the UK.  The team has shaped IFIT's agenda and  improved communication.  In just four years IFIT has markedly reduced reliance on information from baby milk companies. The regular lunch meetings with baby food industry reps that were common four years ago, are now a thing of the past in the area. Also going fast are the company pens, diary covers, age-in-weeks wheels.  IFIT has also done so much to ensure that good quality generic information about formula feeding is “out there. ”   


IFIT produces a bulletin on infant feeding for health workers called Hot Milk. IFIT also features alongside other experts in the new educational DVD, Infant Formula Explained, produced by Baby Milk Action on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group. The DVD provides independent, objective information on formula and how to reconstitute it in line with World Health Organisation guidance. NHS Blackpool and North Lancashire is the first region to start using the DVD in training health workers and supporting parents and carers.* 


Background: The Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support is an award given by the Baby Feeding Law Group to Health Visitors and Health Visitor Teams who have made a significant contribution to the protection of breastfeeding and who facilitate universal access to support that is free from commercial influence.  The first award was given to Gill Rapley in November 2003. The winner in 2004 was Deanna Vearncombe,  2005 Sharon Breward,  2006 Annette Ogilvie-Forbes and 2009 Alison Spiro.


The Award was set up in memory of Julie Crawford, a health visitor and a former Director of Baby Milk Action who died from a rare disease, at the age of 42 in  November 2001. Julie cared passionately about breastfeeding and was never frightened to stand up and fight for the rights of mothers to independent and sensitive care.  She was especially concerned about the extent of industry funding of education for health professionals and was also keen to push for legal action in defence of mother’s rights to breastfeed.


2011 Judges: Obi Amadi, Lead Professional Officer, UNITE/CPHVA, Sarah Saunby, The Breastfeeding Network, Latesha Richards, parent, Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action.


For more information: Mike Brady: 07986 736179   Patti Rundall:  07786 523493  Jane Putsey: 07900 324672






News from the 
European Parliamentary Labour Party


Press Release
27 January 2011
For Immediate Release
An attempt by a formula baby milk manufacturer to market its products with a specific claim about improving a baby's eyesight is being formally challenged by a Labour MEP.

US General Surgeons Office Call to Action on Breastfeeding - marketing tackled for the first time



The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding  (1)  

 Today US Surgeon General's  long-awaited  Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding  was published.  


The statement  sets out very clearly why breastfeeding is crucial for the health of mothers and babies and calls on US policy makers to  support compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. This calls for an end to the promotion of all breastmilk substitutes. 


Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director of Baby Milk Action,  "Its remarkable and very welcome to see that the US  taking this step to endorse this vital international health recommendation at home. We know that the  late Senator Edward Kennedy was instrumental in 1978 in first calling for an international code to address the irresponsible marketing that was doing so much harm to health - but we have waited a long time for the US to take action to protect their babies at home."


 Last week in the UK, some industry funded scientists  published a comment piece in the British medical Journal which generated media coverage around the globe - suggesting that exclusive breastfeeding for six months created risks for health. (2) By stressing the importance  of exclusive breastfeeding for six months in her statement, the Surgeon General clearly expressed her opinion.   she  also said that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.  


Lida Lhotska, IBFAN's regional Coordinator for Europe, said, "I hope that this call for action will create momentum  so that US babies will receive the protection from commercial pressures that they deserve. I really welcome the emphasis on exclusive breastfeeding, but we have to remember that its also important for us to support breastfeeding  beyond six months, alongside healthy and safe  family foods for as long the mothers want.  Therefore serious reform of US maternity protection measures would be really welcome. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 which aims to make breastfeeding at work easier is a step in the right direction. "(4)


For more information about the US infant feeding situation follow this link to Update 42 which



For more information contact Patti Rundall: 07786 523493





2 WHO breastfeeding recommendations under attack from industry-funded scientists.

How Media reporting can derail health policy -

3    WHO statement



Later news: 

Monday, January 31, 2011  California Healthline: Hospitals Must Work on Breastfeeding Policies








The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding




The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding outlines steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies.


How many American women breastfeed their babies?


Three out of four mothers (75%) in the U.S. start out breastfeeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card.

At the end of six months, breastfeeding rates fall to 43%, and only 13% of babies are exclusively breastfed.

Among African-American babies, the rates are significantly lower, 58% start out breastfeeding, and 28% breastfeed at six months, with 8% exclusively breastfed at six months.

The Healthy People 2020 objectives for breastfeeding are: 82% ever breastfed, 61% at 6 months, and 34% at 1 year.

What are the health benefits of breastfeeding?


Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.

Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.

Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.

Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

What are the economic benefits of breastfeeding?


Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone.

A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.

For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity.

Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the company’s employee maternity and lactation program.

What obstacles do mothers encounter when they attempt to breastfeed?


Lack of experience or understanding among family members of how best to support mothers and babies.

Not enough opportunities to communicate with other breastfeeding mothers.

Lack of up-to-date instruction and information from health care professionals.

Hospital practices that make it hard to get started with successful breastfeeding.

Lack of accommodation to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace.

What can the health care community do?


More hospitals can incorporate the recommendations of UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Provide breastfeeding education for health clinicians who care for women and children.

Ensure access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.

What can employers do?


Start and maintain high-quality lactation support programs for employees.

Provide clean places for mothers to breastfeed.

Work toward establishing paid maternity leave for employed mothers.

What can community leaders do?


Strengthen programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.

Use community organizations to promote and support breastfeeding.

What can families and friends of mothers do?


Give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

Take advantage of programs to educate fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding.

What can policymakers do?


Support small nonprofit organizations that promote breastfeeding in African-American communities.

Support compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Increase funding of high-quality research on breastfeeding.

Support better tracking of breastfeeding rates as well as factors that affect breastfeeding.








Patti Rundall,  OBE, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action

Secretariat of  the Baby Feeding Law Group

C/o Baby Milk Action, 34 Trumpington St,   Cambridge   CB2 1QY    

Work Tel: 01223 464420, Mobile: 07786 523493, Fax: 01223 464417


The Baby Feeding law Group is a coalition of 24 leading health professional and lay organisations working to bring UK and EU legislation into line with International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions. 


BFLG Member organisations: Association of Breastfeeding Mothers - Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services - Association of Radical Midwives - Baby Milk Action - Best Beginnings – Breastfeeding Community - Breastfeeding Network - Caroline Walker Trust - Community Practitioners and Health Visitors’ Association - Food Commission - Heart of Mersey - Lactation Consultants of Great Britain - La Leche League (GB) - Little Angels - Midwives Information and Resource Service - National Childbirth Trust - Royal College of Midwives - Royal College of Nursing   - Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - The Baby Café - UK Association for Milk Banking - Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative - UNISON - Women’s Environmental Network.


The Baby Feeding Law Group is also a member of the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition which is calling for action in 7 areas to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.  Baby Milk Action takes the lead on Objective 7.
















This message is sent to you by Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action

Secretariat for the Baby Feeding Law Group

Global Advocacy Task Force Coordinator for the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)

Trustee of Sustain

Baby Milk Action is the UK member of the International Nestlé Boycott Committee  and the Technical Office for Company Campaigns and the EU  for IBFAN's Coordinating Council   

(Please see the IBFAN website for the IBFAN Coordinator in your region)


Baby Milk Action, 34 Trumpington St, Cambridge, CB2 1QY

Work Tel: 01223 464420, Mobile: 07786 523493, Fax: 01223 464417






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