Nestlé in the McSpotlight
| What's Wrong With Nestlé? | Opposition & Campaigns | Company Profile |
Nestlé company has interests in dozens of countries and is perhaps
best known for its food products, breakfast cereals and coffee. Nestlé
also has a majority interest in the L'Oréal cosmetics company. The
biggest criticism of Nestlé is the complete disregard for the health
of infants shown by its irresponsible marketing of breast milk substitutes.
A major international boycott is in effect for this marketing, and for its
continued breaches of the 1981 WHO Code regulating the marketing of breast
Nestlé is part of the Baby Milk industry.
It is not only the specific practices of individual companies that cause problems. The attitudes created by the currrent system of exploitation gives power and profits to the few, at the expense of people, animals and the environment. It is important to expose the unethical practices of specific companies as their behaviour is often indicative of the entire system.
Nestlé holds about 50% of the world's breast milk substitute market and is being boycotted for continued breaches of the 1981 WHO Code regulating the marketing of breast milk substitutes.
Nestlé encourages bottle feeding primarily by either giving away free samples of baby milk to hospitals, or neglecting to collect payments. It has been criticised for misinforming mothers and health workers in promotional literature. Nestlé implies that malnourished mothers, and mothers of twins and premature babies are unable to breastfeed, despite health organisations claims that there is no evidence to support this.
Evidence of direct advertising to mothers has been found in over twenty countries such as South Africa and Thailand. Instructions and health warnings on packaging are often either absent, not prominently displayed or in an inappropriate language. All of these actions directly contravene the Code regulating the marketing of baby milk formulas.
Even in the UK, bottle-fed babies are up to ten times more likely to
develop gastro intestinal infections, but in the Third World, where clean
water may be absent, mothers may be illiterate and independent health care
and advice may be lacking, bottle feeding can be more dangerous. This can
lead to a situation where bavies are left vulnerable to dysentery, malnutrition
and death, and Nestle is able to retain its estimated $4 billion market
share in the baby-milk industry.
In 1989 workers at a Nestlé chocolate plant in Cacapava, Brazil went on strike. The wprkers compained of poor working conditions, including discrimination against women, lack of protective clothing and inadequate safety condition. Within two months of the beginning of the stike the company had sacked forty of its workers, including most of the strike organisers.
Nestlé has subsidiaries in Brazil, China,
Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon,
Mexico, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
The company also has subsidaries in South Africa which it owned during the
Apartheid year. L'Oréal adds Peru and Morocco to the list.
Nestlé own nearly 50% of the cosmetics
company L'Oreal. L'Oreal was subject to boycott calls from animal
rights groups including PeTA because of its animal testing policy. Since
then L'Oreal has claimed that it no longer tests finished products on animals.
This statement is obviously intended to mislead since finished products
do not require further testing and it implies that the ingredients are certainly
still subject to tests. Some groups called off the boycott in response to
L'Oreals' claims, however there are individuals and organisations who continue
the boycott and L'Oreal continues to test on animals.
Nestléitself manufactures products containing meat and has been
critised by BUAV for testing its coffee's carcinogenicity on mice.
Opposition and Campaigns
Exploitation and profiteering do not need to exist. A better way of running our lives can be created based on the sharing of resources and on respect for each other and for nature. Increasingly people are questioning and challenging those with power and are seeking alternatives. Let's hope it's possible to make a difference.
Company ProfileProducts and brandnames:
Note: According to Baby Milk Action, the following Tesco own-brand breakfast cereals are manufactured by Nestlé; Corn Flakes, Bran Flakes, Puffed Rice, Sultana Bran, Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Flakes. This will be true of many other own brand products although it is very difficult to get this information. Co-op brand peanut butter is also apparently made by Nestlé.
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