Monday, September 01, 2008

Nestlé video distributed in the UK in breach of the law - for three years and counting

A few years ago, Chris Sidgwick (known to readers of this blog for a highly inaccurate article on Nestlé and attempts to persuade health workers to accept Nestlé sponsorship) launched a video at the Royal College of Midwives Conference, ostensibly on breastfeeding. At the same time she suggested midwives 'review' their position on the boycott so they could make use of Nestlé sponsorship.

We raised at the time the fact that under UK law such items should only be produced and distributed with the written authority of the Secretary of State for Health. We questioned whether this had been obtained. We raised this again in our May 2008 UK monitoring report when reporting on efforts by Chris Sidgwick, Dr. Miriam Stoppard (television health expert) and Zelda Wilson (Nestlé Nutritionist) to further target UK health workers on behalf of Nestlé.

This prompted a response from the home authority for Nestlé which we hope to include in the next monitoring report if we are able to raise funds for its production. Our UK work is unfunded and we need donations for this. You can donate by going to:

If you prefer (if you are in the US, for example) you also have the option of making a donation through the LatchOn website at:

Here is an update on the monitoring project I've posted to the LatchOn site:

We are hoping to produce a new monitoring report with these funds updating developments since one produced in May 2008. With the money from this project we would be able to print the new report.

There is little action from the enforcement authorities, something we need to highlight to the government's review panel. One piece of good news is that action has been taken over Nestlé distributing a video - ostensibly about breastfeeding - to health workers. The enforcement authority responded to the May report saying: "The video was sent to the Department of Health in 2005, but you are correct in stating that formal approval was never given. I have now written to the company stating that they need to obtain approval from the DOH."

So it is good that the authority backs our view that approval is needed, but a concern that three years after launching a video without that approval, Nestlé is simply being asked to try again. With the help of this project we may be able to improve the situation so when companies break the law, they are actually compelled to stop doing so.

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