By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
The global boycott against giant transnational food and nutrition company Nestle Corporation continues as a high profile protest is slated to take place on Saturday, May 21 in the United Kingdom.
Through alerts on Facebook and other social networking sites, organizers of the protest led by anti-milk formula group and breastfeeding advocate Baby Milk Action are inviting the international community to participate in the protest and the contest it is sponsoring.
Baby Milk Action is calling on the public to send in slogans and jingles with the theme ”Nestlé, Good Grief!”
The theme is directed against Nestle’s official slogan “Good Food, Good Life.”
Participants are asked to sign up for the virtual event and the organizers will send them a link to the film clip they are producing to expose how Nestlé allegedly pushes baby milk in violation of international marketing standards.
Endangering the health of babies
“Nestlé is the worst of the baby food companies, undermining breastfeeding and endangering babies fed on formula as it tries to increase sales,” according to a statement from Baby Milk Action. “We want people to record ‘Nestlé, Good Grief!’ jingles, or other boycott jingles, sung in a catchy a way as possible. Record your jingle on your webcam, upload it to Youtube or another file sharing site and send us the link.”
The group continues to call for a boycott against all Nestle products, and has included beauty products from the Body Shop and L’Oreal brand. The Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal , and Nestlé owns 28.8 percent o f L’Oreal).
Nestlé is targeted by the boycott as it is responsible for more violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly than any other company.
In Europe, Nestlé is the target of a boycott over its aggressive marketing of baby milk. Groups like Baby Milk Action say that Nestle’s marketing of its milk products is stocked with exaggerations and should be stopped. The group cited the declaration of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued.
“In the developing world, World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute,” said the UNICEF.
In the meantime, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) monitors baby food companies against marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly. The group said that Nestlé violates these systematically in its policies and practices. Anti-Nestle groups demand that Nestle stop promoting baby milk products by claiming that they “protect” babies, saying that it has been proven that babies fed on breastmilk substitutes are more likely to become ill and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die.
Nestogen 1 is Nestle’s starter formula being sold in the Philippines for infants 0 to six months old. Nestle also sells NAN HA 2 which is supposed to be hypoallergenic. For toddlers, Nestle sells NAN 2 and 3and NAN HW 1 and 2. It also sells a full range of milk products aimed for the “growing up years” from three to four years old under the Nido brand.
Nestle Philippines Inc.
In the Philippines, there is also an ongoing call for a boycott against Nestle products.The Nestle Company in the Philippines has been the source of several strikes and labor union-related deaths in the last decade. Up to the present, a major labor dispute between Nestle and its workers in its Cabuyao plant remains unresolved and the matter has reached the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Acting president of the Nestle rank and file workers union United Filipro Employees (UFE) Jose Noel Alemania said they “are determined to get justice, even if our fight has caused the murder of our two union presidents, the death of our co-workers, the forced stopping of our children from school and the forfeiture of our properties.”
According to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Nestle Philippines Inc. is responsible for the murder of about 30 picket leaders and union organizers since the Nestle Cabuyao factory workers and their union launched their strike on January 14, 2002. Previous to that, in 1989, the workers also launched a strike and the management allegedly sent hired goods to kill union leader, Meliton Roxas.
According to reports, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo essentially gave Nestle Philippines immunity and looked the other way as the company violated the labor and human rights of its workers and their supporters in their strike.
In 2005, the late labor leader and Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran protested against Macapagal-Arroyo’s appointment of Juan B. ‘JB’ Santos as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry saying that the man had a “spotted record as an anti-worker and anti-trade union corporate bureaucrat.”
Santos was the first Filipino president of Nestle Philippines. He was strongly suspected by labor leaders as masterminding the brutal killing of Meliton Roxas and three other workers outside the Nestle Cabuyao plant in 1987. He was also said to be behind the dismissal of 300 workers of Magnolia-Nestle in 1997; violent dispersals of the Magnolia strike; dismissal of 900 striking workers of Nestle Cabuyao in 2002; the implementation of labor only contracting, sub-contracting and various downsizing corporate schemes; and the intensification of spin-off, merger and joint venture policies that led to the dismissal of thousands of workers and abolition of various Nestle and San Miguel Corporation companies.