What Nestlé Does


As reported in the World Health Assembly’s publication Breaking the Rules 2001, Nestlé is the largest violator of the Code.  While most manufacturers’ violations are fully described, Nestlé’s must be summarized in a table due to the incredible number of infractions.23

These include:

  • Sending so-called "milk nurses," sales representatives dressed in nurse’s uniforms, to maternity wards to promote formula,24
  • Covering the mandatory "Breast is Best" sticker with a plastic lid,25
  • Promoting formulae in billboards,26
  • Advertising by mail and in parenting magazines,27
  • Sending gifts, such as towels and drapes for bassinets, to new parents or making gifts available with purchase of a product,28
  • Distributing gifts; such as pens, cups, flashlights, calendars, and chocolates; to health care workers,29
  • Distributing literature to healthcare workers that says the product contains "micronutrients needed by the baby but which the human body cannot produce,"30
  • Importing product from other regions without re-labeling, so that for instance a product sold in India was labeled in the United States, and provides instructions in English and Spanish, but not in Hindi, one of the official languages of India,31
  • and
  • Advertising new mother clubs.32

One of the most scurrilous things that Nestlé does is to promote formula feeding as a chance to let a mother rest after delivery.  This is "supported" by statements that mothers often produce little milk during the first few times they nurse and the suggestion that they must be supplemented.  In fact, neonates do not need as much liquid as they do even twenty-four or forty-eight hours later.  During this start-up time, the demand for milk stimulates the mother to increase lactation.  If the infant is not allowed to nurse soon after delivery, the mother will reduce lactation, and will quickly be unable to nurse entirely.  She will then be dependent on formula to nourish her baby. Also, a bottle flows more freely than a newly-lactating mother.  As an infant will surely gravitate toward the more readily available source of milk, he will be unwilling to switch to the breast after having been fed from a bottle.33

"Code violations by Nestlé are condensed into a table format because the sheer volume of violations reported would take too many pages.  All countries involved in this survey reported evidence of Nestlé violations."  34
                              Note preceding Nestlé’s results in the WHA survey
                              Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001




23.  “Nestlé Still the Worst.”  Baby Milk Action.   http://www.babymilkaction.org/boycott/boyct29.html#1 (online 27 July 2001). 

24.  Nestlé Rejects Plan Aimed at Saving Infant Lives and Ending Boycott.”  Baby Milk Actionhttp://www.babymilkaction.org/boycott/boyct29.html#7  (online 27 July 2001).

25. Brazilian Violations.”  Baby Milk Actionhttp://www.babymilkaction.org/boycott/boyct29.html#11 (online 27 July 2001).

26.  “Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001.”  International Baby Feeding Action Networkhttp://www.ibfan.org/english/codewatch/btr01/NESTLE-en.HTM (online 27 July 2001).

27.  op. cit.

28.  op. cit.

29.  op. cit.

30.  op. cit.

31.  “Background to the Nestlé Boycott.”

32.  “Nestlé Rejects Plan Aimed at Saving Infant Lives and Ending Boycott.”

33.  “Background to the Nestlé Boycott.”

34.  “Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001.”