Thursday, May 10, 2007

Latest newsletter and Nestlé-Free Zones

Members of Baby Milk Action receive printed copies of our Update newsletter, which include Boycott News (click here to become a member). Our latest issue is now available on our website, to be read on-line or downloaded as a pdf file.

If you sign up to receive alerts from Baby Milk Action, you receive an email when the newsletter goes live and when other significant postings are made. The alert for this issue is given below. You can sign up by completing the form you find when you click here. This issue went out to members with our Hard Sell Formula pamphlet giving an overview of UK baby food industry marketing strategies. You can find that by clicking here.

A new addition to the site are materials for promoting Nestlé-Free Zones. Talking of which, as I mentioned last week, there is much disquiet over Netmums linking with Nestlé to promote Nescafé. I'll try to return to this topic shortly. In attempting to justify the promoting the principal target of the boycott, a Netmums official said: "Nescafe is a coffee advertised in every magazine, paper and tv channel (even GMTV weather is sponsored by Nestle Whole Grain I saw this week). Trinny and Susannah are the faces of nescafe. It is sold by every supermarket, garage and corner shop."

This is a little disingenuous as Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK. Meaning Nescafé is not stocked everywhere. As well as boycotting it and other Nestlé products personally, boycott supporters campaign to have alternatives where they work, shop and other places they frequent. We have a list of boycott endorsers, including businesses and celebrities. In a survey, National Union of Student Services Ethics Committee found that 38% of student unions boycott Nestlé, meaning no Nestlé products in union outlets (see Update 37, December 2005). Earlier this year, AMT coffee kiosks announced they were no longer stocking Nestlé Kit Kat due to customer demand. See:

Perhaps the most telling thing in the Netmums justification is the name checking of Trinny and Susannah, as if their endorsement makes promoting Nescafé and undermining the boycott okay. In just the same way the fact that Netmums accepts funding from the worst of the baby food companies will be exploited by Nestlé and others opposed to our campaign. It is known as image transfer in the public relations industry - linking with a good cause to offset a bad image. See the excellent paper by Judith Richter, published by Cornerhouse: Engineering of Consent (Uncovering Corporate PR Strategies).

The truth is, Nestlé is the most boycotted company and one of the four most boycotted on the planet. Not us saying that, it is according to an independent poll.

One of the requests we have been trying to fulfil for ages is some point-of-sale materials for outlets that boycott Nestlé. Well, we have no money for this task, but a volunteer has recently put some basic posters together for us and we are inviting more. These have been posted to a new section of the website. Nestlé-Free Zone. See:

Here is one targeting Smarties:

The example below is also for promoting Nestlé-Free week.

As well as boycott demonstrations this weekend, 19 May 11:00-12:00, boycott campaigners around the world have declared the week of 2-8 July as International Nestlé-Free Week. We are encouraging people to make an extra effort to promote the boycott during that week and, if not boycotting Nestlé at present to at least do so for that one week. Those that just boycott Nescafé, the principal target, are asked to dump all Nestlé that week. It will be great to see Nestlé sales dip. But also tell Nestlé. That's the point of the poster asking people to call Nestlé's customer service number. For advice and a short film showing what happened when I did so, see:

So here is the alert about the newsletter and other new features on the website:

New on the Baby Milk Action website

Baby Milk Action’s latest newsletter is available on-line at with links to supporting documents and hi-resolution images.

Read on-line or download at pdf at:

You can find out about the annual demonstration at Nestlé (UK) HQ on 19 May at:

We have great new merchandise to support and promote the campaign at:
Top stories in the newsletter.
Campaign to support the Philippines:
Baby Milk Action’s partners in the Philippines asked for support in defending new regulations for the marketing of baby foods last year. They are under attack by the baby food industry at the Supreme Court, which blocked the regulations after the US Chamber of Commerce put pressure on the President of the Philippines. While our partners have petitioned the Supreme Court, we have mounted an international campaign in solidarity. Messages from supporters, including Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, generated front-page stories in the Philippines. The industry struck back with an advertising campaign that was condemned as appalling by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. The court will rule in the near future.
UK crackdown on illegal formula health claims:
Following meetings with Baby Milk Action and others, the UK authorities have reminded companies that commonly used health claims are illegal, 12 years after legislation was introduced. Illegal claims include ‘closer to breastsmilk’, ‘LCPs for development’, ‘Prebiotics supporting baby’s natural defences’. In contrast to the attack on regulations in the Philippines, companies have changed their labels and new packaging is appearing in the shops now. However, the new labels are still not in full compliance and one company, Wyeth/SMA, has incorporated a stylised breastfeeding mothers in its logo.

Calorie overload and infant feeding:
An artificially-fed infant consumes 30,000 more calories than a breastfed infant by 8 months – equivalent to 120 chocolate bars! Moves by governments such as Thailand to reduce sugar levels in baby foods have been blocked by the United States and European Commission.

UN HIV policy changed on breastfeeding:
Companies have seized on the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding to boost sales. Now a study of over 2,722 children in KwaZulu–Natal, South Africa has found that mixed and replacement feeding presents an unacceptable risk to infant survival. In relation to HIV transmission, when HIV-positive mothers breastfed exclusively, their babies had a lower risk of infection with HIV than those with any type of mixed feeding. Adding formula to breastfeeding nearly doubled transmission risk and the addition of solids increased the risk 11-fold. Importantly, the study also showed that mortality by 3 months of age for replacement-fed babies (15%) was more than double that of those who were exclusively breastfed (6%). The study also demonstrated the effectiveness and feasibility of interventions to promote exclusive breastfeeding. The UN has adopted a Consensus Statement on HIV recommending exclusive breastfeeding where replacement feeding is not acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe.

Nestlé boycott news:
Nestlé is boasting of a ‘positive ranking’ in a Global Accountability Report, despite the quality of its information disclosure policy being evaluated as 0% (yes, zero %). Illegal Nestlé sponsorship of health workers has been exposed in India. AMT coffee kiosks have dumped Kit Kat. Nestlé went on an offensive in Fairtrade Fortnight with its token coffee product, which appears to have flopped since its launch. There will be a demonstration at Nestlé (UK) HQ on 19 May and boycotters around the world have declared the week of 2-8 July is International Nestlé-free Week, where everyone will be encouraged to avoid all Nestlé products, not just Nescafé, the principal product targeted by the boycott. New Nestlé-free zone posters have been posted on the website to download for publicising the boycott.

Keeping updated on the baby milk campaign

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Best wishes,

Mike Brady
Mike Brady
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator
Baby Milk Action

Tel: 01223 464420
Fax: 01223 464417

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

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