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Baby milk labels in the Philippines 2006

See our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet, November 2006, about
the international campaign to counter the baby food industry attack on the
Philppines government's new marketing regulations.
The following products were purchased in the Philippines in November 2006.
While labels have to contain a
prominent message saying
'Breastmilk is best for babies up to
two years old' under existing
regulations, companies undermine
this with prominent messages
claiming the formula contains "Brain
Building Blocks" (Nestl, right) and
other health claims.
Click on images for larger versions.
See the Campaigns Coordinator's
blog for additional comments on
these labels.

The 'Important Notice' saying


breastmilk is best for babies is
undermined by Nestl's additional
text:
"Nestogen 1 is a starter formula
made specially to meet the needs of
infants 0 to 6 months old. It provides
all the vitamins and minerals needed
by the young infant. Plus, it is now
improved with:
"DHA - Experts recognize DHA as
essential for brain development and
good vision."
This is a cheaper formula for the
mass market.

Other companies make similar claims about these ingredients, known as Long
Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs), but they are not substantiated by
reputable evidence. Click here for information on the Cochrane Library's
comprehensive review of the rearch carried out.
Something else striking with the Nestl label is the feeding table . Nestl told
Baby Milk Action during national demonstrations in May 2003 that it would
comply with World Health Assembly Resolutions setting out the appropriate age
of use for complementary foods. Since 1994 the Assembly has said this should
be fostered from about 6 months of age, that is exclusive breastfeeding until 6
months of age. The Nestogen feeding table suggests introducing its 'New
Improved Nestl Baby Food' in the 5th or 6th month. That is from as young as 4
months of age - the age of a baby at the start of its 5th month.

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Abbott's Similac Advance (an


idealizing name in itself) claims it is
an 'IQ nutrition system'.

Mead Johnson's Enfapro 2 claims it


contains 'Brain Nutrients DHA/ARA'
and has an idealising cartoon
image.

While Mead Johnson's Alacta also


claims to have 'brain nutrients',
'Fibre-cal' and sports an idealizing
cartoon image, its main ingredient is
'corn syrup solids' not milk.

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Nestl promotes its so-called


'hypoallergenic' formula in the
Philippines - a health claim it is not
allowed to make in the US and
Canada following decisions of the
regulatory authorities and legal
action brought on behalf of infants
who had suffered allergic reaction to
the formula.
It claims to have 'Protect Plus'
ingredients. It says on the back:

"Nan HA 2 provides your baby with


all nutrients esential for optimal
physical and mental development.
Thanks to Protect Plus (TM), a
unique combination of protective
ingredients, it also helps to
modulate your baby's natural
immune defenses and to reduce
the risk of allergy in the critical
period of weaning."
Nestl has also enlarged its bird
logo into an idealizing image.
Milks for older babies are also
promoted with health claims.
The regulations under attack cover
all foods used up to two years of
age.

Cochrane Library on Long Chain


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA)
"At present there is little evidence from randomised trials of
LCPUFA supplementation to support the hypothesis that LCPUFA
supplementation confers a benefit for visual or general
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development of term infants. Minor effects on VEP [visual evoked


potentials] acuity have been suggested but appear unlikely when all
studies are reviewed. A beneficial effect on information processing
is possible but larger studies over longer periods are required to
conclude that LCPUFA supplementation provides a benefit when
compared with standard formula. Data from randomised trials do
not suggest that LCPUFA supplements influence the growth of term
infants."
See http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab000376.html
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006 Issue 4.
Date of last Subtantial Update: June 15. 2001

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