Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy - remembering his contribution to holding Nestlé and others to account

Senator Edward Kennedy passed away on Tuesday. He played a pivotal role in the baby milk campaign, calling Senate Hearings in 1978 and putting company executives on the spot about their aggressive marketing practices. The added calls for a marketing code was taken up by WHO and UNICEF and led to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes three years later.

A press release on our website tells more. See:

Here's a clip of a Nestlé executive being put on the spot. The Hearings are so significant that even today Nestlé is trying to discredit them, distributing a paper with misrepresentation of what happened. See:

Senator Kennedy found that executives felt they had no responsibility for investigating the conditions under which their formula was used.

You can find transcripts and a scan of a contemporary article from the Washington Post (24 May 1978) on the Hearings at:

Here's an extract from the Washington Post: "Oswaldo Ballarin, President of the Nestlé Co. Brazil, which produces infant formula, angrily denied the charges, saying: 'The US Nestlé Co. has advised me that their research indicates this is actually an indirect attack on the world's free economic system.' A red-faced Kennedy shot back: 'Now you can't seriously expect us to accept that... that these people are involved in some worldwide conspiracy to attack the free world's economic system.' Ballarin apologised."

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