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Who Code Violation Allegations

In line with the recommendation of the International (WHO) Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, Article 11.3, Nestlé has the responsibility as an infant food manufacturer to check that our marketing practices comply with the WHO Code or with the national measures that governments have adopted to implement the WHO Code. For that purpose Nestlé has elaborated internal mechanisms to ensure Code compliance, including


Detailed Instructions on WHO Code implementation

Education and training of our staff

Regular audits on a worldwide basis

Seeking governments' opinion of our Code compliance

Implementing an Internal WHO Code Ombudsman System allowing any Nestlé employee to raise concerns about Code compliance in a confidential way, outside line management.

Investigating all accusations of non-compliance with the WHO Code, provided we have sufficient details to do so, and swiftly correct when necessary


In article 11.4 of the WHO Code, NGOs are given the responsibility of "drawing the attention of manufacturers or distributors to activities which are incompatible with the principles and aim of this Code, so that appropriate action can be taken. The appropriate governmental authority should also be informed".


Baby Milk Action (BMA), a UK based group and member of the International Baby food Action Network (IBFAN), is the prime driver of the boycott campaign against Nestlé, publishing accusations on an ongoing basis. The accusations are rarely reported directly to Nestlé or to the local government. In the case of IBFAN the accusations are presented in reports, in the case of BMA they are merely posted on their web site, or voiced during debates in front of public audiences.


Nestlé takes reports on non-compliance with the WHO Code very seriously and we have endeavored to investigate all allegations brought to our attention, despite the fact that in many cases we are not provided with accurate details substantiating the accusations. This makes it difficult for us to investigate how, where and when the alleged infringement could have occurred. Some of the allegations are several years old before they are brought to public attention, which also could complicate the investigation.


In 2001 and in 2004, IBFAN issued the report "Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules". From 1999 to 2002, BMA has publicly presented 33 allegations of Code violations allegedly by Nestlé in different countries. The allegations are made using IBFAN's own interpretation of the WHO Code as a base, but not using national regulations.


Nestlé has investigated each case to the extent that facts permit. If you would like to have a copy of our reports, which summarize the allegations presented and giving the facts in each case, please contact us using the "ask us a question" link at the top of the page, mentioning your request in the comment area.


Response to more recent allegations can be found in the news section

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A recommendation to all WHO Member States to protect and encourage breastfeeding and to give adequate guidelines on how breast milk substitutes should be marketed.

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