Heinz, Nestle, Abbott: Breaking the rules, misleading mothers, New Delhi, July 31
Baby food giants Heinz, Nestle and Abbott have been blatantly violating the IMS Act, (Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 1992) and Amendment Act 2003 and misleading mothers and undermining breastfeeding and natural family foods, according to the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) / International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Asia). Putting profits before children’s health Heinz, for instance is wooing mothers to give its cereal food “Oat and Apple” at ‘4+ months’ through the label on the container and various websites. It is also offering free ‘gifts’, ‘discounts’ and even loyalty schemes to mothers for using the website, which is also banned under the law which is not only illegal but unscientific. According to WHO (SEARO) Regional Advisor of Nutrition Dr Kunal Bagchi “Introducing cereal foods to a child before 6 months of age displaces mother’s milk and can lead to serious health risks including diarrhea. Babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months”.