Monday, September 15, 2008

Coffee creamer mistaken for infant formula

A brand of coffee creamer has been mistaken for infant formula by parents in Laos. The Bear Brand creamer (made by NESTLE of all people) has a picture of a mother bear and a cub on the label, the same picture that is used on the same brand's containers of formula.

When the international code of formula marketing was adopted, formula companies came up with an amazing gimmick. The code prohibits pictures of babies (or other images idealizing bottle-feeding) on containers of breastmilk substitutes. This is why you see formula containers featuring mama rabbits and bunnies, mama bears with cubs, etc. After the code was adopted, formula companies invented the so-called "follow-up formula" for toddlers age 9-24 months. Since this formula is for babies who have been weaned, the companies argue the product is not a breastmilk substitute, and is therefore immune from the Code. This is why the toddler formulas (and since when is a 9 month-old a toddler?) have pictures of babies on the containers, which of course has the same name as the regular formula.

So it makes sense that Nestle uses this image on its formula packages, but why use the same image on coffee creamer? Although the packaging states in English, Lao and Thai that the product is not a breast milk substitute and contains a picture of a bottle with a slash through it, the population has such a high illiteracy rate that many parents simply can't decipher the differences in the labeling.

How many times can Nestle go down this road before they get right and stop trying to kill infants around the world for their own profit? If you're outraged, you can send a letter to:

Nestle Thailand (manufacturers of Bear Brand):


Kathryn Rowan
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Nestle Canada
25 Sheppard Ave. W.
North York, ON
M2N 6S8

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails