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Sinn Féin supports Nestlé-Free Week - McDonald

29 June, 2007


Speaking ahead of next weeks International Nestlé-Free Week, Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has condemned Nestlé for continuing its practice of pushing formula milk products on vulnerable mothers in developing countries.

Ms McDonald said:

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 1.5 million infants die globally because they are not breastfeed. If a child is bottle-fed where water is un-safe he or she is 25 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than a breastfed child.

“Over 25 years ago a marketing code, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, was introduced to regulate the marketing of breast milk substitutes. Despite this provision companies such as Nestle continue push their formula products on vulnerable mothers.

“Just last month Nestlé Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Britain defended the company’s marketing activities in Bangladesh where marketing material for baby-formula was distributed directly to Mothers and Health Care workers, claiming the code allowed the company to do so.

“However a number of articles within the code are very clear that there should be no promotion of breastmilk substitutes to mothers within the health care systems and specifically that branded company materials cannot be distributed to health workers for passing on to mothers.

“This is simply a case of the defending the indefensible. Sinn Féin calls on the Irish people to support next weeks Nestlé-Free week by boycotting all its products. Ethics in business wherever it is conducted should be the cornerstone of every company’s activity, be it in Bangor, Bangladesh or Ballymun.”

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