Danone is stepping up its targeting of health workers and the public, in violation of international baby milk marketing standards. In the UK Danone's formula brands are Aptamil and Cow & Gate. Baby Milk Action is organising protests where possible to raise awareness of the conflicts of interest involved in having a formula manufacturer and distributor as a sponsor and prompt a debate.
Click here to jump to the schedule of protests at Danone-sponsored events.
Danone is already involved in a formula marketing war with Nestlé in many countries. It is the second largest company in the global baby milk market and a significant source of violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly.
For recent examples of Danone's aggressive marketing around the world, see the front-page story in The Independent on its practices in Turkey, Save the Children's recent report on infant and young child feeding and the monitoring reports from the International Baby Food Action Network (summaries can be downloaded by clicking here).
The report Look What They're Doing in the UK 2013, published by the Baby Feeding Law Group, gives examples of the marketing strategies used by Danone and other companies, which violate both the Code and Resolutions and national measures.
We are finding Danone is becoming more aggressive in the UK, perhaps due to Nestlé's entry into the UK market following the completion of its takeover of Pfizer Nutrition/Wyeth and the SMA brand of formula (see our Say NO to Nestlé page).
Accordingly, we are organising protests outside events for health workers and the public sponsored by Danone to raise awareness of the conflicts of interest involved. The World Health Assembly has addressed the issue of sponsorship in Resolution 49.15 from 1996 and again in Resolution 58.32 from 2005 where it stated care was needed: "to ensure that financial support and other incentives for programmes and health professionals working in infant and young child health do not create conflict of interest".
We are looking to to hand leaflets to anyone arriving at the start of the events (leaflets, placards and guidelines will be provided).
Contact us if you would like to join the protest or know of an event not on the list.
Earl's Court 19 September 2013.
Leafleting during registration period 9:00 - 9:30.
Danone is exhibiting with stands listed for its Cow & Gate and Aptamil formula brands. Hipp is also listed as an exhibitor.
Following a welcome response from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) for our request to discuss the Danone sponsorship of their Legal Birth Conference, we have decided to cancel our planned leafleting of the event. It is too late for the RCM to make any changes to the event, but we look forward to discussing our "Say NO to formula company sponsorship" campaign with them shortly.
We appreciate the progressive improvements the RCM has made to its policies over the years and its active involvement in the Baby Feeding Law Group. The RCM no longer takes advertising from formula companies in its journal and does not allow formula companies as exhibitors for their conferences.
Like the RCM and the health professional bodies we work closely with in the Baby Feeding law group, we believe that it is essential that adequate support is provided from public funds to protect health worker independence and ensure sound support for all parents. Companies are increasingly aggressive in trying to reach health workers through sponsorship and other means.
We have received many messages of concern about Danone sponsorship of the legal conference and understand the RCM has also been contacted by its members.
As the debate about Danone sponsorship of the Conference is now underway, Baby Milk Action will not be leafleting at this event, and we look forward to productive discussions with RCM.