The latest global monitoring report from the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), called Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules (page 9) shows that the ‘root and branch review’ Danone promised after taking over the NUMICO companies (Nutricia, Milupa and Cow & Gate) has resulted in practices becoming worse, not better. Danone is rivalling Nestlé in the extent of its violations, and has its own version of the Nestlé ‘protect’ logo.
Danone has added shields to products around the world making claims that its added ingredient, Immunofortis builds the immune system. The UK Advertising Standards Authority and European Food Safety Authority are amongst those who have ruled that there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. Danone targets parents with baby clubs and offers free gifts to mothers and health workers, while providing misleading information.
Danone has promised to send us details of the changes it made as a result of its ‘root and branch review.’ We will read this with interest, but we want the company to drop its Immunofortis claims immediately and stop other violations or we will call a boycott of its key consumer brands. Watch for an announcement at the World Health Assembly in May 2011.