Monday, October 25, 2010

Nestle-free Week 2010 gets off to a Tweeting good start

It is International Nestlé-Free Week from 25 - 31 October 2010 (press release). A week for people who boycott Nestlé over its baby milk pushing to do more to spread the word and for those who don't boycott to give it a go. This year people are being asked to email Nestlé over its last baby milk marketing strategy: it is claiming its formula 'protects' babies despite the fact that babies who are fed breastmilk substitutes are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die.

Boycotters in the United States started the ball rolling yesterday with a Twitter Party. Thousands of tweets were entered on the Twitter site using the #noNestle hashtag. People shared information about how Nestlé violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and other measures adopted by the World Health Assembly; how right now Nestlé is undermining breastfeeding by promoting its formula as 'The new "Gold Standard" in infant nutrition'; how Nestlé denies information to parents who use formula that would help them to reduce risks - Nestlé refuses to warn them that powdered formula is not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria. Some people tweeted about the different brands that Nestlé owns. Part of the purpose of the week is to persuade people who think it is too hard to give up Nestlé products to look for alternatives and some tweeters made suggestions of other products to use when boycotting Nestlé. Nestlé-Free Week includes Halloween and campaigners have produced 'Nestlé Free' bags for giving out candy to children knocking on their doors.

The discussion continues on the #noNestle hashtag during International Nestlé-Free Week and beyond. We have adopted a Tweet Ribbon produced last year by a boycotter, which people can add to their Twitter avatar. See:

People are also spreading the word on Facebook by inviting friends to join the event page:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breastfeeding or using formula, International Nestlé-Free Week needs your support

It is International Nestlé-Free Week at the end of October. Our press release can be found at:

I saw a comment on one discussion board where someone had posted a link: "sorry .. but some people cant breast feed .. so making people feel guilty because they cant .. no thanks ..."

I posted the following comment:

I have joined this forum to leave a comment from Baby Milk Action. Our slogan is 'Protecting breastfeeding - Protecting babies fed on formula' and we do NOT work to stop people having access to formula or to stop Nestlé or any other company from selling it. There is no intention to make mothers feel guilty over how they feed their children. It is a mother's decision.

The demand is simple: for Nestlé to market its products in accordance with the international marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly. These are very clear in their purpose: "to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution."

As we show on our site with reference to Nestlé's own materials it both undermines breastfeeding with untrue claims about its formula and refuses to provide information for those who use formula with information on how to reduce the risks. Powdered formula is not sterile and Nestlé does not want to admit this on labels because doing so would undermine its claims that its formula protects babies and may harm its sales - Nestlé cares about profit above all else, hence the need to hit it in the pocket with the boycott to force changes.

Powdered formula sold in the UK does warn on labels that it is not sterile and the instructions include the step required to kill any possible harmful bacteria in the powder. If companies are not forced to include this information, they hide it. The information on how to mix up formula to reduce risks is available from the World Health Organisation and the UK Department of Health.

So whether breastfeeding or using formula, we hope everyone agrees that babies have a right to protection and mothers have a right to accurate information. Supporting International Nestlé-Free Week is a way to help achieve that.

Find out more on the press release, including how to send a message to Nestlé and join the Facebook group.