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Boycott Update

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, about 1 .5 million babies die every year because they were not breastfed. Additional milHons of infants suffer from infectious diseases and malnutrit on because they were bottlefed, often with diluted formula made from contaminated water. According to Indian pediatrician Dr. Raj Anand, "The bottle is a passport to death forthe majority of our babies." Amid such facts, along with charges that corporations were using unethical tactics to market infant formula, the World Health Organization adopted an infant formula marketing code in 1981 that was designed to promote breastfeeding and ensure the ethical use of artificial formula only when necessary. Nestle, the world's largest infant formula maker, agreed to adhere to the WHO infant marketing code after being the target of a worldwide boycott from 1977-1984, but numerous health advocacy groups began to realize that Nestle's promises and Nestle's actions were two different things. According to the Infant Action Feeding Coalition (INFACT), Nestle is routinely violating the WHO code by disposing large quantiti es of free formula to hospitals, birthing centers and new mothers. Critics argue that this product dumping, aided by misinformation, gifts and bribes to health care workers, has the effect of mothers choosing artificial formula over mothers' milk. Within poor populations, INFACT notes that as a child grows, "free" formula is no longer available and parents must use a large part of their income to buy formula INFACT also points out that due to the high cost, parents may not be able to feed their child enough formula and start feeding their babies "adult" food, often with disastrous consequences. A second worldwide boycott of Nestle is being coordinated by Baby Milk Action (BMC) which is urging consumere to not buy any Nestle product until the multinational Corporation strictly abides by the WHO infant formula marketing code. While products with the name "Nestle" are obviously a boycott target, other product brands produced by the company include Carnation, Perrier, Stouffers, L'Oreal, Libbys, Hills Brothers, Taster's Choice, Calistoga, Coffeemate, Juicy Juice, Contadina, Lean Cuisine, Alpo, Friskies, Fancy Feast, Mighty Dog and the candy products Baby Ruth, Butterfingers, Oh Henry and Raisinets. Lettere of protest can be sent to Nestle USA, 800 North Brand, Glendale, CA 91203. Besides Nestle, boycotts are also being called by INFACT and Action for Corporate Responsibility against American Home Products and Wyeth over charges that these companies also are violating the infant formula code. American Home ProductsWyeth brands include Advil, Anacin, Robitussin, Chef Boyardee, Jiffy Pop, Dimetapp, Guldens mustard, Black Flag insecticides, Easy-Off oven cleaner, Woolite, Dristan, Neet and Today contraceptives. Letters of protest can be sent to AHP Corporation, 685 Third, New York, NY 10017-4085. For more information on infant formula related boycotts contact Action for Corporate Responsibility, 9101 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006, 202-776-0595. General boycott information can be obtained by subscribing to Boycott Quarterly (520year), P.O. Box 30727, Seattle, WA 981030727 or on the Internet, http: boycott.


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