ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

18 June 2002


Nestlé continues, with Unilever, to be amongst the most implacable food industry supporters of genetic engineering with repeated claims by its Chief Executive that it is a vital technology to feed the world.

Protesters recently raided Nestlé offices in Thailand, Manila, Hong Kong and Switzerland, dumping boxes of Nestlé GM contaminated products including baby food. Part of the focus of protest outside Europe has been on how Nestlé is supplying GM contaminated products to Third World consumers while their products sold in Europe are GM-free.

The action was to kick off a campaign urging consumers to return products containing GMOs.

For a pic of the protest in front of the Nestle HQ in Switzerland.

The information below from Baby Milk Action - part of the Five Year Freeze alliance calling for a moratorium on genetic engineering and patenting in food and farming - gives an insight into the kind of company championing GE as a saviour of the poor and hungry. [for more on the Freeze:]

Nestlé and the International Red Cross have announced a partnership deal for interventions in the HIV crisis in Africa.  In the past Baby Milk Action has exposed how Nestlé is violating World Health Assembly regulations by using fears over HIV transmission to push its Pelargon
infant formula. (see

We are also concerned at the way the Red Cross has taken part in strategies attempting to counter Nestlé's image as an unethical and irresponsible company.  For example, the British Red Cross joined Nestlé and other business-friendly panellists at the Hay Literary Festival. Writers such as Germaine Greer and Jim Crace pulled out of the Festival because of Nestlé sponsorship.

Nestlé continues to violate the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods in a systematic and institutionalised manner.  We highlight recent concerns on our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet.  The latest issue is posted on our website today at

The full text is included below.  We expose how Nestlé's internal auditors, publicised by the company recently, are turning a blind eye to the promotion of unsuitable whole milks for infant feeding. This includes an advertisement prior to today's Brazil - Belgium football match which did not include warnings required by Brazilian law.

We also question whether Nestle's recently announced 'ombudsmen', who are Nestle staff, will protect whistle blowers when Nestlé senior management are implicated in malpractice.  Former Nestlé employee, Syed Aamar Raza, says he was threatened after exposing malpractice in Pakistan.  Nestlé Chief Executive, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, was asked to condemn a gun attack that took place at Aamar's house in Pakistan after he went public with his documentary evidence of malpractice.  Instead of calling for calm from all those implicated by the evidence, Mr. Brabeck continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against his former employee, who remains in hiding and has not seen his family for over two years.

The on-line version of the action sheet includes links to supporting documents.

Best wishes,

Mike Brady
Mike Brady
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator
Baby Milk Action

Visit our website

Baby Milk Action is the UK member of the International Baby Food Action Network - IBFAN -


Baby Milk Action, 23 St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX, UK.
UK contact numbers.  Tel: 01223 464420   Fax: 01223 464417
International contact numbers.  Tel: +44 1223 464420   Fax: +44 1223 464417

Inappropriate promotion of Nestlé whole milks as baby food


In many countries poor mothers use whole milks for infant feeding, rather than infant formula or breastfeeding. Whole milks are many times cheaper than infant formula. Poor mothers may use whole milks if hospitals have not supported them breastfeeding (hospital practices are often influenced by baby food companies). Promotion of baby milk may have persuaded the mother that her breastmilk is not good enough for her child, but she is unable to afford expensive infant formula.

Nestlé encourages the use of dangerous whole milks, such as its Nido and Ninho brands, by permitting them to be displayed in pharmacies and supermarkets in the baby feeding section in some countries. Montoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and published as the report Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001, found that sales representatives give inducements to shop keepers to encourage them to display products to best effect to increase sales. Nestlé could, perhaps, place the blame on shop keepers themselves if it wasn't for that fact that Nestlé's internal auditors check on products in shops and permit the practice.

[picture] This picture is taken from Nestlé's recently published Sustainability Review and shows Nestlé's internal auditors turning a blind eye to the Nido whole milk on display in the baby food section (Alimento Bebe) amongst Nestléís much more expensive Nan infant formula. The picture appears in the section 3Infant formula marketing audit in Argentina.2

The practice of presenting Nido (known as Ninho in Brazil) as a baby food is widespread.

(Click here for further analysis of Nestlé's Sustainability Reveiw).

(Click here for a photo of Nestlé Ninho in the baby section in a window display in Brazil).

Nestlé not only attempts to squeeze extra profit out of poor mothers by permitting this dangerous promotion. Nestlé1s Public Relations staff attempt to blame the death and suffering of infants on mothers who use inappropriate substances such as whole milks (see Your Questions Answered section).

In Brazil virtually everyone is watching the 2002 World Cup. The product Nestlé chooses to promote during Brazil's games is Ninho whole milk.  The Brazilian regulations require a phrase warning that the product should not be used for infant feeding (Norma Brasileira para Comercialização de Alimentos para Lactentes - Article 5). Nestlé does not give this warning in its television advertisements.

[picture] Nestlé and the Brazilian flag in a TV advertisement prior to the Brazil - Belgium game, 17 June 2002: "Nestlé, from who most understands milk to who loves football."

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