January 3, 2008
ACTION ALERT – Help cancel Nestlé’s participation at Winnipeg Baby Show
The Winnipeg Baby and Kids Show, held this year February 2nd and 3rd, is a conference geared towards expectant and young families. It is designed to showcase local baby-oriented merchants and provide families with parenting information and services.
One of the exhibitors at this year's show will be Nestlé Nutrition. Other participating local businesses who are concerned with infant health have contacted INFACT Canada and asked that we help them protest Nestlé’s involvement, because of the corporation’s aggressive and dangerous marketing of infant formula.
Help us get Nestlé removed from this event! Send a letter to Deanna England (deanna@showtimeprod uctions.ca), the exhibitor coordinator for the Winnipeg Baby Show. Let her know Nestlé’s presence at the show is unacceptable. The company should not be allowed to participate until it demonstrates that it can market its infant formula reponsibly and without endangering the wellbeing of infants. Write your own letter or cut and paste the one below.
For more information on Nestlé’s unethical marketing practices, visit www.babymilkaction. org.
Dear Ms. England,
I’m writing to express my displeasure at finding that Nestlé Nutrition is one of the exhibitors at the upcoming Winnipeg Baby and Kids Show.
The Baby Show is supposed to provide families with information and services that will help them do what all families want to: live healthy and happy lives. But as you may be aware, Nestlé is notorious throughout the world for misleading parents about its products and prioritizing profits over infant health.
In many parts of the world, using infant formula is extremely dangerous. The proper use of artificial baby food requires clean water, sufficient family income, and a literate parent to read preparation instructions. In many regions of the world, all three of these things are in severely short supply, making artificial feeding a frequently deadly practice . The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million infants and young children die each year because they are not breastfed. Impoverished women in these countries have little incentive to formula feed. It is expensive, often costing a whole month’s worth of family income, and it needlessly exposes their children to serious health risks. Yet Nestlé continues to dissuade mothers from breastfeeding and aggressively promotes its infant formula in areas where its use is known to frequently be fatal. Its marketing techniques, which are in violation of UNICEF and WHO guidelines, are not limited to simple billboards. Nestlé convinces mothers that formula is the “Western,” “advanced,” and “modern” way to feed babies.
The company also pays health workers in the Philippines to promote their product to impoverished mothers. That country has breastfeeding rates so low that 10,000 infants die there each year from inadequate nutrition.Earlier this year, the UK’s Guardian newspaper documented how Nestlé targets impoverished mothers in Bangladesh with formula advertising, often with fatal results. In Armenia, Nestlé pays doctors a commission for each prescription they write for Nestlé formula, even though the WHO recommends Armenian mothers exclusively breastfeed their children for six months.Marketing tactics like these are dangerous, and violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the WHO’s guidelines for formula marketing).
Nestlé’s violations of these important guidelines are numerous and well-documented, and demonstrate incontrovertibly that Nestlé is much more interested in making profits than promoting infant health. Evidence of their violations can bee seen at http://www.ibfan. org/site2005/ abm/paginas/ articles/ arch_art/ 302-17.pdf.Until the company reforms its unethical marketing practices, Nestlé has no place being an exhibitor at an event designed to help families and babies.
Please show your commitment to infant health and cancel Nestlé’s participation in Winnipeg’s Baby Show.Thank you very much for your understanding on this important issue.