Patti Rundall's Policy blog

Take a look behind the scenes of Baby Milk Action by following the blog of Patti Rundall OBE, Policy Director.
Summaries of stories are given here. Click on the titles for the full posting.

WHO's Draft over-arching Framework of engagement with non-State actors

I will be joining IBFAN's team at the World Health Assembly next week. In addition to topics such as Maternal, infant and Young Child nutrition - there will be discussion about WHO's Reform and the  Draft over-arching Framework of engagement with non-State actors. See links below and for a letter published in  BMJ online.   CLICK HERE for WHA Agenda

EU Corporate Social Responsibility policy: The Commission seeks stakeholders’ views on achievements and future challenges

Period of consultation  29.04.2014 to 15.08.2014

Nutricia India tinkers with its audit

Two important media articles in Nutraingredients about Danone's 'risk of non-compliance' with the Indian IMS Act:


EFSA Public consultation on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae

Public consultation on a draft Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae

24 April 2014

Can nutrition experts be independent if they get $25,000 per annum from Nestle?

Can nutrition experts be independent if they get $25,000 per annum from Nestle?


CLICK HERE for Update 46 story

Times of India  Rema Nagarajan, TNN | Apr 19, 2014, 10.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: The question of conflict of interest among academics who serve on various boards or councils of private corporations is in focus yet again with Nestle admitting that it does offer to pay members of its Creating Shared Value (CSV) Council $25,000 per annum. This has also raised question about the effectiveness of the conflict of interest policy of the medical journal Lancet, given that two of the lead authors of its series on Maternal and Child Nutrition were members of Nestle's Creating Shared Value Advisory Committee. 

WHO: No consensus on draft policy on non-State actors

WHO: No consensus on draft policy on non-State actors


To end hunger, global policy can't be 'business as usual'

Olivier de SchutterOlivier de SchutterTo end hunger, global policy  can't be 'business as usual'

UN Special Rapporteur  on the Right to Food

Timothy A. Wise  Global Post  March 24, 2014

WHO Framework of engagement with non-State actors

WHO Framework of engagement with non-State actors


WHO Public Consultation on Sugar: Deadline 31st March

WHO opens public consultation on draft sugars guideline

CLICK HERE for  IBFAN comment

CLICK HERE for UK Health Forum and World Cancer Research Fund International

CLICK HERE for El Poder del Consumidor

Governments take the ‘drivers’ seat’ on child obesity

Governments take the  ‘drivers’ seat’ on child obesity 

A carefully worded EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity, initiated one year ago under the Irish Presidency, was adopted at the Greek Presidential Conference in Athens on 26th February.1 The Plan reflects the political complexity of the 27-member EU and aims to ‘demonstrate a shared commitment to addressing childhood obesity.’ The priority actions in ‘a possible toolbox of measures for consideration’ respect Member States’ ‘roles and freedom of action in counteracting childhood obesity.’2

EFSA preliminary findings prompt renewed calls for claims ban

On 20th January the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the preliminary work it will use for its forthcoming evaluation of essential formula ingredients. The review is part of the ongoing overhaul of all EU baby food legislation. 1

IBFAN Briefing on Foods for Special Medical Purposes

DRAFT BFLG IBFAN Comment on Recommendations for Requirements for Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) for infants    

March 2014

CLICK HERE for PDF of this Briefing

CLICK HERE for a PDF of Update 46

Rapporteur on the Right to Food speaking at the UKFG Investing in agriculture for food sovereignty conference

Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food speaking at the UKFG Investing in agriculture for food sovereignty conference

Videos of the speakers from this really inspiring  conference are now online at:

Conflicts of Interest and Infant feeding at the WHO Executive Board Meeting


CLICK HERE for decision on MIYCN

IBFAN is granted status as an  NGO working in official relations with WHO

IBFAN and WHOIBFAN and WHOFrom left to right

Lida Lhotska, IBFAN Regional Coordinator for Europe,

Dr Francesco Branca, Director, WHO Department for Nutrition and Health Development

Dr Elizabeth Mason, Director,  WHO Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health 

    Patti Rundall,  Co-Chair, IBFAN’s Global Council. 


WHO's  EXECUTIVE BOARD (EB) meeting (EB134) in Geneva began on 20th January and ended on the 25th.  Conflicts of Interest, WHO's interactions with 'Non State Actors' have been hot topics. The EB decided to refuse ISDI (the baby feeding industry) official status but accepted IBFAN and GAIN.  CLICK HERE

Conflicts of interest at work

This story from Australia illustrates the pickle that some organisations can get into when they forget to check sponsors for conflicts of interest.


Media stories: Abbott in court, Sancor donations in China

January 05, 2014

Jury to decide if baby formula caused Sioux City girl's brain damage  Sioux City  CLICK HERE

CCTV news report from China: Corrupt hospitals stop breastfeeding

16th September 2013

CLICK HERE  for a report on DUMEX/Danonein China

Organizations denounce Nestlé’s new human rights impact assessment as a public relations stunt

For Immediate Release   December 19, 2013

Organizations denounce Nestlé’s new human rights impact assessment as a public relations stunt

12 Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries

12 Mandela Quotes That Won't Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries

SUN and Conflicts of Interest

SUN and Conflicts of Interest:

IBFAN is concerned about the non-transparent process (discussions under Chatham House Rules)  chosen by SUN to address conflicts of interest. This process has been led by the Global Social Observatory (GSO),  a Geneva-based think tank funded by the GATES Foundation.

Consultation on Goats' milk protein in infant formula

Baby Milk Ation comments on the Consultation on goats milk formulas

CLICK HERE  for consultation papers

If you agree please use our comments to send a submission to:

DEADLINE for ENGLAND  6th December   

URGENT: Sign this letter to oppose new rules that unfairly protect corporations.

IBFAN and many other organisations are becoming increasingly worried about the many trade deals now being struck - more often than not in the shadows -  that seem to protect the interests of corporations at the expense of the poor. 

Below is a letter that you can sign onto - as a quick way to register your concern.

Breastfeeding, stunting in EU and WHO Action Plans

Three important documents are under discussion now:

1 EU Action Plan to Reduce the Number of stunted children by 7 million by 2025

2 Draft EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 

3 DRAFT WHO European Region  Food and Nutrition Action Plan  2014 – 2020

Philippines Typhoon - Protecting infant health through breastfeeding.

To understand the complexity of the situation and the pressures on those trying to protect infant health - read this first hand account by VELVET C. ESCARIO-ROXAS

You can see a picture of Velvet campaigning about BPA on the IBFAN website HERE


SUN Business Network Announces New Members

SUN Business Network Announces New Members

New Soda Tax Makes Mexico a Leading Guardian of Public Health

New Soda Tax Makes Mexico a Leading Guardian of Public Health

This month the new government of Mexico made history. In the country that consumes more soda per capita than any in the world, where the former president had been the top executive for Coca-Cola, the national Congress struck a blow for public health by passing a one-peso-per-liter tax on soda and an 8 percent tax on junk food. We in the U.S. can learn a lot from our neighbor to the south--as well as from countries including Finland, Hungary and France that have passed similar measures. Even England's Conservative Party-led government is considering such a tax.

Urgent UN appeal NOT to send formula donations to Typhoon victims


The Nutrition Cluster joint statement on appropriate infant and young child feeding in the current emergency, and caution about unnecessary use of milk products.  

Letters to the Lancet, the Editor's tweets and more

Read on for our letter to  the Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition about the fact that two of the authors are members of Nestlé's Creating Shared Value Committee.  Such roles  could, depending on the circumstance, result in exclusion from European Food Safety Authority Working Groups.

Richard Horton@richardhorton1 the Editor of the Lancet has since Tweeted the following questions:

Can anyone out there give me evidence about Nestlé's negative influences in health? Opinions are strong, and that's fine, but I need facts. 

then later:  What about Danone: are they the acceptable face of commercial influence in health? Or not? I just don't know

The power of big food: a few corporate conglomerates shape the way you live your life. How do we resist?  

Follow the Twitter correspondence  including  from Prof Anthony Costello:

"Maybe one way to resist big food is not to have members of Nestle's advisory board directing the Lancet Nutrition Series"  - and "Former head UNICEF nutrition asks why Lancet lead authors on nutrition series served on Nestlé Advisory Committe"

Our responses suggesting that he look at hard, on the ground evidence about Nestle or Danone - rather than what they say - have not been acknowledged. The suggestion from Gary Darmstadt of the Gates Foundation to look at FTSE4Good and ATNI (the two industry whitewashes ) was warmly welcomed.  Interesting. 

Comments on Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) for infants and pesticides

Comments by  IBFAN, Baby Milk Action and the Baby Feeding Law Group   

Tomorrow: 15th November  2013  Member States Experts meeting on  Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) for infants and pesticides in food for infants and young children

CLICK HERE for background papers

CLICK HERE for Commission FSMP paper

CLICK HERE for Commission Pesticides Paper

NEW Paper! NGO concerns about WHO’s consultation on engagement with non-State actors

NEW PAPER on NGO concerns about WHO’s consultation on engagement with non-State actors   CLICK HERE

PLEASE read and support if you agree.

When: 17–18 October 2013, 10:00–13:00 and 15:00–18:00

Where: Executive Board room, WHO Headquarters

Mexico moves closer to a soda tax


Last night, the Chamber of Deputies, Mexico's lower house of Congress, approved a 1 peso per liter tax on SSBs (10%)  

310 in favor, 166 against, 5 abstentions, 19 absent.   

Next up, the Senate! (which must vote on the fiscal reform package October 21-31)

CLICK here for background to the Crusade Against Hunger story.

Click here for El Poder del Consumidor - the fantastic consumer group we have been working with to protect child health.


WHO corrects its country implementation report.

GSK pushes Junior Horlicks at 'Toddlers' in India

GSK Junior Horlicks promotion in IndiaGSK Junior Horlicks promotion in IndiaSTOP PRESS:  December 2013: Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld a complaint against claims in GSK's print advertisement of Junior Horlicks,   that  ‘added supplement contents like DHA and CHOLINE in the product that are important for child's brain development’, ‘Competent and reliable scientific evidence’ (CRSE)’, ‘supplements containing omega-3 FA like DHA.’ 


Coming back through Delhi airport this weekend I noticed this  promotion for GSK's Junior Horlicks in the Guardian Pharmacy claiming: "100% RDA Nutrients for Growth, DHA for Brain."

I thought all promotion of foods for children under 2 years is stricly banned in India.  Since GSK  has now joined GAIN perhaps we can expect more of this. 


One good piece of news about GSK however - it has sold Ribena and Lucozade.


Abbott promotion in Grenada

CLICK HERE for  Mike Brady's Blog about the awful sponsorship at the International Conference on Nutrition in Grenada Spain.

CICK here for the sponsors

Here's an example of one of the displays! 

Abbott promotion in GrenadaAbbott promotion in Grenada

Links on conflicts of interest


Here are some  Links to background papers that may be useful:

Codex: IBFAN and IACFO Comments on the India proposal for foods for Underweight children.

Proposal for a Part B in the Standard for Processed Cereal-Based Foods for Infants and Young Children (Codex Stan 074-1981, Rev – I 2006) 

Report on the Post 2015 Development Goals

The Secretary General's  High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Goals, has released its Report with recommendations on the Post MDGs development goals for the next 15 years 

Calling off tomorrow's leafleting

Guidance on commercial Sponsorship - Nestle sneaks in

With all the dodgy sponsorship of conferences  going on people may welcome the IBFAN and Baby Feeding law group  guidelines. (Page down for links) 

Here I am (9.7.13) with Mike Brady outside the Royal College of Physicians where Nestlé had booked an event targeting health workers under a different name. The RCP say they would not have accepted the booking had they known. See Mike's campaign blog for more details and news, including the cancelling of one in Birmingham tomorrow.  


Letter from a paediatrician to the Chilean Paediatrics Association president

CLICK HERE for PDF  of  a really good letter about Danone sponsorship from Dra. Cecilia Castillo L. in Chile

At last - some accurate reporting on Venezuela

CLICK HERE for a very good article exposing the way that corproate media has distorted the moves to strengthen infant and young child health protection in Venezuela.

Cochrane finds food as good as commercial Ready-to-use products


WHO DG, Dr Margaret Chan, exposes industry tactics

CLICK HERE or page down to read the excellent speech made by the Dr Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General at the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion  Helsinki, Finland 10 June 2013: 

"Efforts to prevent noncommunicable diseases go against the business interests of powerful economic operators. In my view, this is one of the biggest challenges facing health promotion.   As the new publication makes clear, it is not just Big Tobacco anymore. Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation, and protect themselves by using the same tactics.  Research has documented these tactics well. They include front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits, and industry-funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt. In the view of WHO, the formulation of health policies must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests."

European Parliament to vote on new regulations on baby food marketing

BBCBBCEuropean Parliament to vote New regulations on baby food marketing 

UK Government raises concerns about Probiotics

See previous blog entry HERE

The EU Parliament's ENVI Committee yesterday voted unanimously for the new proposals for a Regulation on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes.  This will now go forward for the final vote in the full EU Parliament in Strasbourg  in June. 

One of the things we have been lobbying for in these proposals is the issue of 'optional ingredients' and the pre-authorisation of all ingredients used in baby formulas and foods, so we are pleased that once this regulation is adopted these issues can be considered in the new delegated acts.  Whatever happens, there will be more oversight from Parliament on all new ingredients. 

New Study linking bottle feeding to obesity

Ronald McDonald and Tony the Tiger look for new jobs - Kellogs forced to compensate children

Marketing junkfood to children : two familiar figures visit the World Health Assembly -  Ronald McDonald and Tony the Tiger look for  new jobs  handing out their CVs to delegates attending the World Health Assembly.
  20th May

Here I am being refused entry into the UN, apparently because I failed to meet the UN dress code. Later in the week I was given a much better reason for the refusal - that it was deceptive. Perhaps the corporations that use these disguises  to befriend children  could think about that!   





CLICK HERE for PDF of Consumers International Press release

CLICK HERE for World Public Health Nutrition Weblink. 

CLICK HERE:  Kelloggs has to payout. 28th May:

Patti as TonyPatti as TonyHere I am outside the headquarters of the World Health Organization  taking a breather. 

IBFAN Comments on 4th Draft of WHO's Plan of Action on NCDs

Friday 29 March 2013  was the last day for public comments on the 4th draft of WHO's Global Action Plan for the prevention and Control of NCDs  (2013-2020)

New comments on WHO’s engagement with non-State actors

Today is the last day for comments on the Public web consultation on WHO’s engagement with non-State actors. 

Other useful links

Some other items that may be of interest: 

Call for input on UN Forum On Business And Human Rights Deadline 12 April 2013.

United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights  States, business, civil society and other stakeholders can submit suggestions for the 2013 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights.  

Submissions may be sent to by 12 April 2013.

Big Business undermines breastfeeding campaign as mothers turn to milk formula

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article in Today's Guardian  about baby food companies in Indonesia:

LAST DAY OF Consultation on new MDGs - new deadline 10th January


If you agree that breastfeeding should be specifically mentioned in the next Millennium Development Goals please make a submission - however short - to  an online consultation that ends  10th January.  Follow this link  Contributions can be posted on the consultation website( or sent to and are welcome in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

IBFAN's submission is HERE

Help stop unethical research in Indonesia

STOP PRESS:  We understand that this research is to stop.  Thanks to all those who supported this campaign


Please help stop the industry funded research about to start in Indonesia entitled  "Effect in Using Formula Composed with Cow's Milk Fat, Enriched with Mixed Fats & Added Fosfolipid on Duration & Infection in Babies' Digestive and Respiratory System"

 Click HERE 

The protection of infant and young child health in Brazil

IBFAN has written to the Her Excellency, Dilma Roussef, DD President of Brazil, about the  Regulation of Law 11265/2006 which protects infants from the unethical commercial promotion of products that undermine breastfeeding practices.

The link to one of the letters  is HERE

The interesting article in the Guardian about the  tour of the Nestle ship  is HERE

Rapid Responses on the BMJ: Lack of transparency in the Business of malnutrition

Join the ongoing discussion in the BMJ about Veena Rao's personal opinion piece entitled, "Law on infant foods inhibits the marketing of complementary foods for infants, furthering undernutrition in India" click HERE   Following our complaint the  BMJ has published the following correction:  "In this online Personal View (BMJ 2012;345:e8131, doi:10.1136/bmj.e8131) the author, Veena Rao, did not declare any competing interests. She has now told us that she has been “a member of the Advisory Board on the Britannia Nutrition Foundation (a non-profit trust) since 2009.” The website of the foundation is at   Ms Rao has submitted a further comment but fails to mention that Britannia Nutrition Foundation is funded by Brittania Industries Ltd. 


IBFAN Comments on SUN

IBFAN's  Discussion Paper on the  Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative - outlining our concerns about the role of businesses and why we cannot be part of SUN has been posted onto the SUN wesbite here  just above a link to the launch of the SUN Business network 

Cross Branding - how this can harm infant and young child health

Cross Branding - how this can harm  infant and young child health

A  BMJ study looked at the impact of idealised images and cross branding (in this case Nestlé's  Mother and Baby bear logo on coffee creamer )  in LAOS  one of the world's  poorest countries.  It s relevant and pertinent to the ongoing discussions in Codex. 

34th Codex Nutrition meeting Germany

The Codex meeting is taking place in Bad Soden, nr Frankfurt in Germany


Important development in EU rules on baby food marketing

I have been attending an EU Food Law meeting this week on The Revision of the PARNUTs Directive  - it was attended by all the major companies. 

The UK Infant Feeding Survey published


The Infant Feeding Survey (IFS) has been conducted every five years since 1975. The 2010 IFS was the eighth national survey of infant feeding practices to be conducted. The main aim of the survey was to provide estimates on the incidence, prevalence, and duration of breastfeeding and other feeding practices adopted by mothers in the first eight to ten months after their baby was born.

WHO clarification on industry funding

WHO has officially come out to distance itself from PAHO’s acceptance of industry funds for NCDs which was highlighted by Reuters on 19th October

TODAY: Opportunity to strengthen EU legislation on foods for infants and young children


IBFAN  recommendations  for strengthening the Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children and on food for special medical purposes

President Obama and the breastfed baby

Obama and babyObama and babyNice story sent by Siti Norjinah Moin, Founder of the Malaysian Breastfeeding Association. Director of Breastfeeding Information Bureau (BIB Malaysia). 

World Nutrition Rio2012

I gave four presentations at this marvellous nutrition conference - which was the first of its kind to be free of corporate funding - and it showed. 

World Public Health nutrition

Do remember to check out the rather wonderful articles on the World Public Health Nutrition website.

Andy Chetley

Andy Chetley dies Wednesday 17th October 2012

UNICEF UK report on the costs of not breastfeeding

‘Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK’

Reuters Report: Food, beverage industry pays for seat at health-policy table - Reuters Report

Food, beverage industry pays for seat at health-policy table

Click here for  the Reuters report  on WHO that has generated a flurry of responses - page down

Fringe meetings at the Conservative Party Conference

Fringe meetings at the Labour Party Conference

Fringe meetings at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester 1st - 3rd October

Responses to WHO Consultation on ACTION PLAN 2012-2020

Responses to WHO consultation: Updated Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases - 2013-2020

IBFAN's response is here:

The World Cancer Research Fund response is here: 



Tackling hunger - don't partner food giants, or forget breastfeeding and the underlying causes

Sunday 12th August 2012 - World Leader Summit on hunger - hosted by David Cameron 


Prof Zef Ebrahim Memorial Lecture


   'Challenges for Mother and Child Health:  perspectives from Southern Africa'  

All are welcome to the Prof Zef Ebrahim Memorial Lecture  on Wednesday 3rd October 2012 at 12 noon in the Kennedy Lecture Theatre, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London.  The talk will be given in Zef's honour by one of his  ex-students, Dr Felicitas Zawairi, now WHO Representative in Malawi.  

Zef work has been of critical importance  to IBFAN and Baby Milk Action since the 70s and we miss him terribly. (More to follow)

For Zef's Obituary in the Guardian see:


WHA Resolution on Infant and Young Child Feeding tackles conflicts of interest

The 65th World Health Assembly passed an important Resolution on Maternal, infant and young child nutrition.  

For Press release see:

The proposed text is attached as a pdf. This was adopted today.

For further details contact Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action Policy Director on: 07786 523493

EFSA and conflicts of interest

Reuters report on Food lobbying: How Washington went soft on childhood obesity

Reuters Food FightReuters Food Fight


Media watch: Time Magazine

Time MagazineTime Magazine

This front cover of TIME magazine has generated huge debate....



New push to stop free infant formula at hospitals

 A national campaign against obesity spreads to South Florida in an effort to stop hospitals from giving free formula to new moms.....

such bad news for babies as Nestle buys Pfizer

see our press release on this worrying news.

Lord Ashley - strong supporter of the Baby Milk Campaign dies

Jack Ashley presents a petition to Sir George Young  1981Jack Ashley presents a petition to Sir George Young 1981

New "All about IBFAN" video

Here are some links to a brand new video “All about IBFAN” on youtube

IBFAN concerns about FTSE4Good

Click here to download IBFAN's briefing on FTSE4Good as at 9 March 2012.

Click here to download the annexes as a zip file.

Also see Baby Milk Action's earlier briefing.

EFSA changes its rules on conflicts of interest.


Product placement of baby milk in TV programmes is banned

Did you know that it is against the rules for television programmes to accept payment for showing baby milk in television programmes? 

Follow-on milks and baby food claims to be debated at Codex meeting in Germany

The Business of malnutrition: breaking down trade rules to profit from the poor

Click here for the press release following this meeting:



Day 1  - Saturday 12 November  

I am attending the Codex meeting in Bad Soden, Frankfurt this week, wearing the IACFO hat, along with IBFAN colleagues from Swaziland, Canada and Luxembourg.   See below for our comments on the agenda items.

Exposing the risks of food industry involvement in education

At the last meeting of the European Platform for Diet and Physical Activity, on the 6th October in Brussels, Mars, Media Smart and others gave presentations about their nutrition and media  education  projects.

Media articles

Urgent call - help improve the safety of ingredients. Call for pre-authorisation

Urgent call for pre-authorisation of baby food ingredients

Comments on UN Political Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases

IBFAN Comments on UN Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases


Throwing oneself “into the lions’ den”

Article in La Liberté  and Le Courier about out the Nestle Shareholder meetings  - 29.7.11  - in French

Here is an English translation of the text:

Articles about Partnerships and Voluntary controls

Voluntary controls fail to reduce harmful advertising

Call for endorsement of IBFAN’s comments on Children's Rights and Business Principles Initiative (CRBPI)

Call for endorsement of IBFAN’s comments on Children's Rights and Business Principles Initiative (CRBPI)


Please send an email by 14th July to: if your organisation can endorse these comments which will be submitted before the consultation deadline: 15th July.

South Africa: Good News On the PMTCT Front


Media coverage of WHA and UN

WHA 64 Consumers International/ IBFAN Statement on draft HIV Strategy

PDF version

Statement delivered by Lida Lhotska, IBFAN European Coordinator

Tackling Obesity: How Companies Use Education to Build Trust.




See this awful paper from the Scottish Government, Principles for food companies working with schools in Scotland  which seems to contain absolutely no principles: 


Kinder Chocolate promotion in the EU parliament







UNICEF expresses its support for the Resolution opposing the health claim

Dr Nicholas Alipui,  Director of Programme at UNICEF HQ in New york has responded to a request from an MEP for an opinion on the DHA claim. 

Letter to MEPs from Sri Lanka about the DHA claim

"a butterfly flapping it's wings in one area of the world, can cause a tornado in another part of the world"

US FDA survey of 10,000 women's understanding of health claims

Here is a really important development

European Parliament Resolution refusing the authorisation of DHA health claim and industry comment

Please see all the links to the relevant papers here:

The whole  Resolution is  attached. The key paragraphs (J-S and 1-3) are on pages 4 and 5:

Abbott pays bloggers for positive reviews of its Similac Iphone app

Similac Iphone appSimilac Iphone app

BBC Politics Show on DHA Claim


Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action Policy Director, on the BBC Politics Show East Midlands on 13 February 2010.

Send a message to Members of the European Parliament by going to:



Indian Alliance Against Conflict of Interest writes to Minister about Nestlé.

Cerelac in India Feb 2011Cerelac in India Feb 2011"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made"    Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944).


Agenda for Hungarian Presidency of Europe

DHA briefing - redirect

Please click here.


News from the 

European Parliamentary Labour Party

Press Release

27 January 2011

For Immediate Release



Consumers International/ IBFAN speeches, WHO Executive Board Meeting

30 years of IBFAN

Consumers International/IBFAN speeches at the WHO Executive Board Meeting, Geneva.  January 2011, WHO Geneva

How media reporting can derail health policy


The debate about the value of the BMJ comment piece rages on, with misleading stories and headlines falsely implying that breastfeeding is a risk to health and that the UK guidance is a rigid dictate to mothers forbidding any food other than breastmilk until the clock strikes midnight at the end of the 6th month.  Since some of the media are also questioning whether the links between the authors and the baby food industry are relevant,  I thought it might be helpful to explain our concerns about the paper, its  timing and the authors' knowledge of the risks of media reporting.

BFLG response to Consultation on Bisphenol A in feeding bottles

Consultation on Bisphenol A: The Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food (Eng)

WHO breastfeeding recommendations under attack from industry-funded scientists.

see also new Policy Blog:

WHO breastfeeding recommendations under attack from industry-funded scientists

Press release 14 January 2011

The BBC,  the Guardian, The Times, The Sun and  other media are carrying stories - about a comment piece from four authors published in the British Medical Journal today challenging World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation that breastfeeding is exclusive for 6 months (no other foods or drinks introduced). The media coverage implies that the challenge is based on new evidence. In fact this is not a new scientific study nor a systematic review, but the authors review of selected past research, published in the 'Analysis' section of the BMJ. 

New Zealand ASA upholds complaint against Wyeth for S26 Lutien eye claim

New Zealand ASA upholds complaint against Wyeth for S26 Lutien eye claim  

 Two magazine advertisements published in Littles were both very similar and featured the headline piece which read:


EU to decide on DHA claims

STOP PRESS: The EU Committee that met on the 6th December APPROVED the claim that DHA improves eyesight for use on follow-on milks and baby foods,   Members of the European Parliament and the European Council now have 3 months to comment. 

Please contact your local MEP and asked them to stop this claim being approved.

EU deadline for DHA, ALA and ARA claims


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) continues to plough through the hundreds of dossiers supplied by food companies who wish to make claims on foods (see UDs 41 & 42). We focus on children’s food and formula claims which fall under Article 14 of the European Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations (1924/2006).  

Commercial involvement in UK Start4Life: Baby Milk Action Comments

Baby Milk Action response to Department of Health Questions regarding commercial involvement in Start 4 Life  October 2010

 What would your criteria be for supporting the inclusion of an organisation as a Start4Life partner?

 In addition to the submission made on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group and the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition Baby Milk Action would like to make some additional comments regarding the consultation about Private Sector involvement with Start for Life.

The questions posed need to be rephrased. Baby Milk Action is not comfortable with being seen as supporting partnership with any for-profit company on any government health education scheme, especially on Start4Life. Our position has, from the start, been that the involvement of commercial companies in education schemes risks undue commercial influence of the messages being conveyed, increasing the likelihood that parents receive conflicting messages which are known to undermine the DH public health line.  We cannot stress enough the importance of  all governments taking seriously their responsibilities and obligations under the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Nutrition to provide truly objective, evidence-based information and support to parents.

Article in Archives of Diseases in Childhood

 Arch Dis Child published online July 26, 2010 J S Forsyth

International code of marketing of breast-milkand international governance --three decades later time for hostilities to be replaced by effective national substitutes 

An article  in  the Archive of Diseases in Childhood by Prof Stewart Forsyth (who declares long-standing collaboration with the formula companies) portrays a harmful message about Baby Milk Action and other groups monitoring and campaigning to stop the harmful marketing of baby foods. Below are some comments about the article and the media coverage it is generating: 

Response to DCSF Consultation on Impact of the Commercial World on Children's Wellbeing - A Call for Evidence


Baby Milk Action  response to the Department of Children Schools and Families consultation: Assessing the Impact of the Commercial World on Children's Wellbeing - A Call for Evidence    July  2008

Baby Feeding Law Group writes to Mead Johnson about Alactagrow promotion in the Philippines


The Baby Feeding Law Group  representing 24 leading health professional and lay organisations in the UK,  including the Royal Colleges of Paediatrics, Nursing and Midwifery, has written to the US company Mead Johnson about its irresponsible promotion of Alactagrow in the Philippines. 

Michael Gove's 'Dark Agenda'

 One aspect of the new Education Minister, Michael Gove's policy that hasn't been questioned is what he means when he will check whether parents who want to set up new schools have a "dark agenda."

Good that he promises not to allow extremist religious groups,' fake theories' and 'bogus science' - but what about the corporate agenda?

Nestle, the UN Global Compact and OECD Guidelines

What happened when Nestlé was reported for violating the UN Global Compact and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises?



The UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises seek to improve compliance of businesses with human rights norms and other international standards. A coalition of organisations registered complaints in June 2009 regarding Nestlé S.A. to the Global Compact Office and the Swiss National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines. Both stressed they are responsible for voluntary initiatives and that they are only prepared to promote 'dialogue'. Although the UN Global Compact Office has powers to exclude companies, it stated: "Of course, abuses of the 10 Principles do occur; however we believe that such abuses only indicate that it is important for the company to remain in the Compact and learn from its mistakes." It is suggested that this international regulatory framework is both ineffective at holding corporations to account and is misused for public relations purposes. Alternatives are proposed.

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead answers Lord Avebury's PQ on Nestle and UNHCR

Question tabled in the House of Lords by Lord Avebury, (Lib Dem Peer) 30th November 2009


    To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will discuss with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees the desirability of entering into a new partnership agreement with Nestlé, with reference to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions. [HL378]

    The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We fully support the principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly and are committed to the promotion and encouragement of breastfeeding for infants. We have spoken with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and understand that they are in the process of considering their position.

    6 Jan 2010 : Column WA99

US bans synthetic DHA ARA in organic formulas

US bans DHA and ARA in organic formulas

Obama administration bans two additives used in organic baby food

By Kimberly Kindy  Washington Post Staff Writer   Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that two synthetic additives will no longer be permitted in infant formula or baby foods certified as organic because the widely used ingredients have not received legal approval for use in organic products  The additives -- omega-3 fatty acid DHA and omega-6 fatty acid ARA -- are present in 90 percent of organic infant formulas and are marketed as promoting brain and eye development in ways that mimic breast milk. The Washington Post reported last July that U.S. Department of Agriculture employees had concluded three years earlier that the fatty acids violated federal standards and should be banned from products carrying the federal organic label. Their findings were overruled by a USDA program manager who had been heavily lobbied by the formula industry.

Nestle challenged at its AGM 2010, Lausanne, Switzerland 15th April

Below is my intervention at Nestlé's Shareholder meeting in April 2010 in Lausanne. I challenged the company about its failure to abide by marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly and about it health claims strategy which tells mothers in 120 countries that its baby milk will 'protect' their babies.  At this AGM we were joined by Greenpeace activists who cut through the ceiling to challenge Nestle about its exploitation of palm oil. 

In response to Greenpeace, Peter Brabeck, Nestlé's Chair and CEO said: 'Tying corporations up in regulatory straightjackets is unnecessary when companies such as Nestlé already have sound principles and core values.’



Tackling Obesity: How Companies Use Education to Build Trust. Briefing

 PDF of this briefing






Breastfeeding provides an ideal window of opportunity for obesity prevention and may help in the development of taste receptors and appetite control.

 The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considered that there are two potential, cost-effective interventions that can be put into place immediately to deal with the childhood obesity epidemic: decreased television viewing and breastfeeding promotion.

“Artificially fed infants consume 30,000 more calories than breastfed infants by 8 months of age” (equivalent to 120 chocolate bars - 4 a week). Student Study Guide for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation KG Auerbach, J Riordan - 1993 

As pressure builds to stop junk food advertising to children, many companies are focussing attention on nutrition and health education in an attempt to re-establish themselves as producers of healthy food. By  building public trust in this image they can divert attention from the continued aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods.  The  education materials and facilities that are produced as a result present an even more complex problem than straightforward advertising because they blur the boundaries between advertising, marketing and education.

Although  individual employees often have philanthropic motives, corporations themselves have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximise profits, so the deal will be done with multiple motives: 

For example, companies will hope to:







  • involve potential critics in partnerships and so discourage  them from speaking out;
  • discourage open debate about sponsors
  • undermine the independence of monitoring schemes;
  • use education facilities as a channel for commercial propaganda which undermines public health messages;
  • project a healthy, responsible corporate image and so gain the trust of children, parents and teachers;
  • distort the curriculum in favour of business interests - promoting a self regulation and partnership approach to marketing rather than regulation;
  • use the ‘halo’ effect as evidence of Corporate Social Responsibility 
  • divert attention from/‘engineer consent’ for actions which are anti-social and which harm sustainable development, the environment and human survival. 





Independent Review Panel reports Press release 11 March 2010

Government panel says there need to be 'steps taken' to address problems in enforcing baby milk marketing law. Campaigners welcome recommendation and call for UK law to be brought into line with international standards

Publication of the Review of infant formula and follow-on formula controls

The report of the Independent Review Panel has been published today (11th March) on the DH and FSA wesbites. The Minister for Public Health, Gillian Merron,  will publish her response 'as soon as possible'.

Baby Milk Action and the Baby Feeding Law Group  will publish a response ASAP also.

A summary of the responses can be found on this link:

Questions put to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board November 2009

On behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group I ask the FSA Board  about:

  • the narrow remit of the  Independent Review Panel and suggest that it has been a waste of public money;
  • the conflicts of interest in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the impact this may have on the report of the working group on complementary feeding 
  • concerns about the EFSA decisions on health claims on formulas and baby foods.  
  • taxes on junk food.


Tim Smith, CEO of the FSA responds.

to see the video follow this link and choose Q&A


Marmot Review health inequalities and their social determinants Baby Milk Action response July 2009


Overview of evidence on health inequalities and their social determinants 



Monitoring the baby food industry

Baby Milk Action is offering an online course on monitoring the baby food industry.

The first two modules are now available to members of Baby Milk Action.

If you are registered as a member with the site and logged in, you will see links under the courses menu saying Module 1 and Module 2.

<---------- Look at the menu on the left for where it says "Courses".

Click on the link to the relevant module to begin or continue with the course. If you cannot see links saying "Module 1" and "Module 2", click here to confirm you are logged in.

If you are a member and have not yet registered with the site, click here to register.

If you belong to an organisation (such as IFIT) that has arranged for you to do the course, register in the same way as a Baby Milk Action member, but specify the name of your organisation when you contact us to upgrade your registration.

The course will consist of 8 modules based on the training the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) gives to member organisations around the world. These have been tailored to the situation in the UK and include information on the narrower UK marketing legislation.

Each module consists of short filmed talks, quizzes, reading, a powerpoint presentation and an exercise. Participants have access to the tutor via the online discussion forum and will be able to book a personal tutorial by phone or skype during the course. The course culminates in a guided monitoring exercise to receive a Baby Milk Action certificate as a Code Monitor.

There will be a small charge for each module (£15.00 each). Members of Baby Milk Action can do the first two modules free of charge and the remaining modules at a discounted price (£10.00 each). If you have registered with the site as a member, we will contact you as each module becomes available over the coming months. The course will be made available for non-members once all modules are available.

If you are a member of Baby Milk Action or an organisation that has arranged for you to do the course, then you can set up your registration with this site now to access the first module. Click here for details.

Membership of Baby Milk Action starts at just £7.00. To find out more, click here.



Baby Milk Action submission to NICE consultation on Preventing Obesity

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence


Preventing obesity: whole system approaches

Consultation on the Draft Scope February 2010

Patti Rundall's Policy blog coming soon

Watch this space for blogs from Patti Rundall OBE, Baby Milk Action Policy Director.

Patti will explain the challenges, actions and successes in the world of shaping the policies relating to infant feeding. At national, European Union and international level.

Information on infant formula

Breastfeeding is best for babies. All parents should know this. Breastfed babies have less risk of short and long-term illness. There are also health benefits for mothers who breastfeed.But if you have decided to use formula, for whatever reason, how do you decide which formula to use? Where do you find the information you need?

In this 4-part film, lasting less than 30 minutes, you can listen to Baby Milk Action's Campaigns and Networking Coordinator, Mike Brady, provide answers to these and other questions.

Part 1 is given above (if you cannot see the player, check you have Adobe Flashplayer installed). This covers: Department of Health on formula; composition of formula; claims that are companies can make about formula.

You will have to register to watch the following parts of the film (there is no charge to do so).

Part 2: The development of formula; putting risk in perspective; changes to formula composition; LCPs.

Part 3: Oligosaccharides ('Prebiotics'); how to choose between formulas; follow-on formula and Goodnight milks.

Part 4: Guidance on mixing up powdered formula to reduce risks.

If you have already registered and are logged in, click here for part 2.

To log in, click here. To register, click here. This will open a new window. Return to this window to continue using the above link.

Broadcast archive

Visit our old site for archived video and audio recordings - there are some real gems there, so please do take a look.

Problems with LCPs in the US. Updated 2011

2010 Update The safety of the ingredients - the US experience:  

EU and US block Thailand’s proposal to reduce sugar in baby foods


IBFAN press release

FAO/WHO Codex Nutrition Committee (CCFSNDU)

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 3rd November 2006

Cereal-based baby foods are an unlikely subject of controversy but this week they have been at the centre of a bitter struggle between health advocates and the multibillion dollar baby food industry whose interests were defended by the European Commission and the United States. The controversy centered on sugar levels and the rising levels of obesity and food related diseases which are fast consuming health budgets across the globe.

Download the attached pdf for the full press release.