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Please check back regularly for news on events and media posts.

Latest News…

le 31 janvier, 2013.

(ce text va étre traduit en français bientôt!) The Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses is hosting its National Conference in Montreal on February 10 – 12, 2013. Despite having re-commited, in 2008, to supporting the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes and the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, CANN has partnered with Abbot and Mead Johnson for this conference.

Please urge the CANN to reconsider this partnership:

CANN/ACIIN Secretariat
32 Colonnade Road, Unit 100
Ottawa
Ontario Canada
K2E 7J6
Tel: 613-721-7061
Toll Free: 1-888-625-8455
Fax: 613-721-3581

 

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November 16, 2012

Outrage Sparks Twitter battle between UN Health Watchdogs WHO, PAHO.

Moms, front line breastfeeding workers furious with Pan American Health Organization accepting $150,000 from Nestlé. To read the article in full, click here.

Please sign the petition here.

November 3, 2012

Quebec government releases new document: “Questions et réponses sur le Code International de Commercialisation des Substituts du Lait Maternel”.

To read the document in its entirely, click here (French only).

February 14, 2012.

University of Alberta to Award Nestlé Chairman Honorary Degree

Dear President Samarasekara and Chancellor Hughes,

I am writing to you with respect to the University of Alberta’s decision to award an honorary degree to Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the Chair of Nestlé. As the director of INFACT (Infant Feeding Action Coalition) Québec, a non-governmental organization that works to protect infant and young child health. It is difficult to understand why the University of Alberta would want to bestow upon Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe the University’s highest honour by granting him an honorary degree.

Contrary to the claim that Brabeck-Letmathe has had a positive role to play in the “preservation, management, and distribution of one of the world’s most vital resources: water,” as both the CEO and Chair of Nestlé, Brabeck-Letmathe has been one of the leading proponents of turning water into nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold for profit.

Nestlé is the world’s largest producer of bottled water and has been fought by communities worldwide for its reckless depletion of groundwater for its bottling plants. From misleading advertising to challenging municipalities and school boards which choose to promote tap water instead of its wasteful product, Nestlé’s corporate record on water is abysmal. Brabeck-Letmathe himself has called the notion that water is a human right “extreme” and has boasted about his closed-door dealings with the Alberta government to encourage them to move to a provincial water market.

Nestlé has an extensive record of engaging in irresponsible social and environmental practices which includes:
• Unethical marketing of infant formulas and repeated, systematic violations of the UNICEF/WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes and subsequent resolutions;
• The use of forced child labour in their cacao supply chains in West Africa;
• Non-labelled genetically modified foods;
• Controversial water pricing and the privatization of public water resources
• Lobbying against vaccination of livestock during the British Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001;
• Environmental destruction in Brazil;
• Intimidation of trade unionists in Colombia;
• Demanding millions of dollars in compensation from hunger-stricken Ethiopia;

Because of these actions Nestlé has gained a reputation around the world of putting profits before the wellbeing of the global community, and is the target of the world’s largest consumer boycott. To counter its well-deserved negative reputation, Nestlé makes public shows of support for social causes such as food security; despite the fact that any independent examination of their actions shows that the company actively undermines such causes. Consider the fact that Nestlé is the largest promoter of infant formula in the world, a product that is neither affordable nor safe in many communities and erodes the food security of infants and young children, the most vulnerable members of society.

I am deeply disappointed that the University of Alberta feels that such a record is deserving of celebration and accolades, and encourage you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider bestowing such an honour on Brabeck-Letmathe.

Respectfully yours,

Carole Dobrich RN, IBCLC
INFACT Quebec President
And on behalf of the INFACT Quebec board of directors and members.

~~~~~

Letter written by INFACT Canada:

INFACT Canada is deeply concerned that the University of Alberta is planning to award Mr. Peter Brabeck-Latmathlé, the Chair and former Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé, an honorary degree for contributing to “the preservation, distribution and management of one of humanity’s most vital resources: water.”

Protests are coming on from all over the world. Nestlé, which has been designated as the “Least Ethical Company” globally, is infamous for practices including destruction of water resources; aggressive marketing of infant formula and other baby foods in violation of the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions; trade union busting and infiltrating public interest organizations critical of Nestlé’s predatory practices.

INFACT Canada joins the Council of Canadians in condemning University of Alberta’s plans to award Mr. Peter Brabeck-Latmathlé an honorary degree. Instead, the University should criticize Nestlé’s destructive business practices and inform the company that there is no honour for the CEO!

Swiss journalist Robert James Parsons has been writting about Nestlé since 1997. Read his brilliant letter to the University of Alberta heads.

Send your message today to:

Copy to:

You can also use the Council of Canadians’ online form to send a message to the University of Alberta President and Chancellor.

Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America
esterken@infactcanada.ca

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January 17, 2012.

Abbot Nutrition Webcast to Target Canadian Health Care Providers

Health care providers across Canada will be the target of an Abbott Nutrition webcast on Wednesday. The January 18th webcast, presented by doctors and scientists, will promote Abbott’s infant formula, focusing on two of its marketing gimmicks, prebiotics and lutein [...] Let the organizers and presenters of the webcast know what you think about this flagrant violation of the WHO Code!” (click here for more info and for a sample letter).

Related…(from Jennifer Peddlesden BScPharm IBCLC):

“Hello everyone,
Attached is a letter from IBFAN International Code Documentation Centre to CEO Miles White of Abbott regarding the programs which will air today, and go live tonight in Edmonton.    Thanks to the BACE in Edmonton ( see their Facebook Page) for mobilizing some brave women who care about breastfeeding to come out and demonstrate to those who attend, how important this is to babies and mothers.  CTV, Global and CBC have been notified.  Watch the Edmonton Sun today for a letter to the Editor.
If you can, even at this 11th hour with barely 30 minutes left, send a message to CEO Miles White canada.nurition@abbott.com and GM Richard Bond ( same address) that you want them to stop this program.  Copy the presenters and moderator, they are   Philip Sherman philip.sherman@sickkids.ca , Dr. David Mackdmack@cheo.on.ca (moderator) ,  Dr. Glenn Gibson g.r.gibson@reading.ac.uk , Dr. Billy Hammond  bHammond@uga.eduand of course, local organizer Michael Seibelmichael.seibel@abbott.com .”

Update: “I am pleased to say that on calling the Union Inn just moments ago, I found out that Abbott Nutrition cancelled their Edmonton dinner and live event for health professionals titled : Advancing Infant Formula Science. The online seminar is still on.
I believe it has been the cross-Canada, even international, pressure put on by those people such as yourselves who wrote to organizers and speakers that contributed to this cancellation of the live event in Edmonton.” – Jennifer Peddlesdon

Press release: INFACT Canada, January 16, 2012.

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December 24, 2011.

More retailers pull formula after baby’s death.

“Several more national retailers have joined Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in pulling a batch of powdered infant formula from their shelves after a Missouri newborn who consumed it apparently died of a rare bacterial infection, the companies said Friday.” (full article here)

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INFACT Québec, Annual General Assembly coming up!

INFACT Québec is having it’s Annual General Assembly on November 19th, 2011 in Montréal, QC. There will also be a mini-conference: “Conflit d’intérêt, l’industrie pharmaceutique et le Code international de commercialisation des substituts du lait maternel et son application”. Dr. Suzanne Dionne and Dr. Jean Claude Mercier will be presenting. For detailed information about this event, please see our brochure.

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Ask the UN to stop partnering with the baby food and junk food industries

Everyday we read or hear about unhealthy foods – foods like infant formula, processed/packaged industrially made infant foods, junk foods, foods with high levels of starch, transfats, highly processed foods, which increase our risk of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other non- communicable diseases (NCDs). We also know that breastfeeding of children for two years, with exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, significantly reduces the risk of NCDs.

CLICK here if you want to protect your and your children’s health. Ask the UN to stop partnering with manufacturers of unhealthy foods to develop strategies to control NCDs.

Yet makers of infant milks, infant foods and other unhealthy foods bombard us every day with unethical advertising and false health and nutrition claims – images and words presenting their foods as safe, as healthy, as good, as the right choice.

TAKE ACTION TO STOP PROMOTION OF UNHEALTHY FOODS. Ask the UN to stop partnering with the baby food and junk food industry.

Click here to send the petition to the President of the United Nations General Assembly!
The UN is currently developing a “Political Declaration” and preparing for the High Level UN Summit on NCDs to be held in September in New York. The declaration proposes partnerships with the private sector for its future work. That means manufacturers of unhealthy foods including infant foods and junk foods will be able to influence future strategies. That is an UNHEALTHY PARTNERSHIP, you need to take action to stop it.

Sign the petition at:
http://www.onemillioncampaign.org/view_campaigns/stop-unhealthy-partnerships-0

We believe that the strategies to prevent NCDs should put strong emphasis on support to women to continue breastfeeding up to two years, especially exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and end promotion of all foods for infants, and children. Therefore manufacturers who market unhealthy foods should not be allowed to participate in developing strategies or making decisions regarding healthy foods and prevention of NCDs, as it is a clear case of conflict of interest.

TAKE ACTION TO STOP UNHEALTHY PARTNERSHIPS. Ask the UN to stop partnering with the private sector to develop strategies to control NCDs. Click here to send the petition.

Thanks!!

Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America
esterken@infcatcanada.ca

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September 10, 2011.

from the website naturaltransition.com:

A WikiLeaks cable- The US Lobbied Against Breastfeeding in the Philippines

The US embassy lobbied against a breastfeeding campaign in the Philippines and blocked revisions in the Philippine Milk Code’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs). “The IRRs would ultimately harm the consumer by denying information. It will also damage the milk industry and negatively affect employment.” For more information, click here.

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September 9, 2011.

Good news!

Dear Friends,
It is a pleasure to let you know that accreditation for the Mead Johnson education program to be held in North Battleford SK and taught by Dr. V. Patidar has been pulled by the CFPC [please see below for more info].   According to CFPC the program violates a number of items and should not have been accredited as it is promotional versus evidence based.  CFPC has notified the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of this decision since RCPSC had accredited a similar program in Oshawa, ON.
Sincerely,
Jennifer Peddlesden BScPharm IBCLC
619 East Chestermere Drive
Chestermere AB T1X 1A4
403 . 272 . 3764

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September 7, 2011.

Hello everyone,
It has come to my attention from a colleague and Betty Sterken at INFACT that Mead Johnson sponsored education sessions for physicians will be held in North Battleford SK on September 14th and Oshawa on September 22nd.
The following information regarding the Sep 14th event will help you write regarding this violation, and similar information can be used in writing with regard to the Sep 22nd event to Dr. Marianna Mitchell and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  I have also attached research courtesy Betty to show that there is no basis to claims regarding LCPUFAs in formula.
1.      Dr. Jayprakash Patidar who is teaching on Sep 14th is in conflict of interest according to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and WHA Resolutions ( “the Code”) ( Article 7.3 and WHA 47.5, WHA 49.15, and WHA 58.32)  http://www.ibfan.org/issue-international_code.html
2. The accrediting body The College of Family Physicians of Canada  info@cfpc.ca is in conflict of interest as above by accrediting this education and by accepting sponsorship from Mead Johnson, a manufacturer of products covered under ‘the Code’ and as well a known violator of “the Code.”  In 1966/2004  the CFPC adopted “the Code” and in 2003/2006  adopted the WHO UNICEF Global Strategy of Infant and Young Child Feeding which refers to “the Code” on p1 “ From the outset it was agreed that the global strategy should build on past and continuing achievements – particularly the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (1991), the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (1981) and the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding (1990) – in the overall context of national policies and programmes on nutrition and child health, and consistent with the World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition.”This organization is ignoring its own policies.  See attached.
3. There is no basis for claims for use of LCPUFAs in infant formula. (see attached)

Please

a.  email the organizer Sonya Sereda of Mead Johnson, sonya.sereda@mjn.com

b.  write to Dr. Jayprakash V. Patidar at this address 16940 87 AVE NW  MISERICORDIA COMMUNITY HEALTH , Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5R 4H5  ph (780) 735-2731  fax(780) 735-2794, or Dr. Mitchell.

c.   write to the Royal College or, College of Family Physicians of Canada at info@cfpc.cato apprise all three of them of your recognition of these violations;

1.  of “the Code”

2.  and for CFPC of their own policy statements of 1966, 2003, 2004 and 2006.   What short memories.

Please pass this on to others who may also take time to write.

Sincerely,

Jen

Jennifer Peddlesden BScPharm IBCLC
619 East Chestermere Drive
Chestermere AB T1X 1A4
403 . 272 . 3764

 

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July 24, 2011

Breastfeeding discrimination is now officially outlawed in Australia (May 25, 2011). Anyone who discriminates against breastfeeding mothers is breaking the law under changes to the Sex Discrimination Act passed by the Federal Parliament. For more information, click here.

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July 7, 2001

Press Release (IBFAN) re: Nestlé’s ‘BabyNes System’:

“Nestlé is press releasing and publicising  the BabyNes system in an idealising and misleading way, describing it as: “The first comprehensive nutrition system for babies” –  a role which has been carried out by mothers  far more safely and effectively since the human race began [...] Nestlé says the ‘state-of-the-art technology’ is based on its Nespresso coffee machine, stressing its convenience and safety but playing down the inherent risks which relate not only to the shortcomings in the formula itself, but to the water, the bottles, teats and to the many problems caused by not breastfeeding.” (more)

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May 17, 2011

Letter from ILCA:

We are pleased to share with our members this letter today by ILCA to WHO, ICDC and IBFAN, recognizing the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

TO: WHO, ICDC and IBFAN,

The International Lactation Consultant Association recognizes and lauds the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC), and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) on the eve of an important anniversary in worldwide public health: The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the International Code) was adopted by the World Health Assembly thirty years ago (on May 21, 1981)!

ILCA is asking its 5,200+ international members to celebrate this milestone, and to honor the simple message of this international model policy for public health. The International Code is designed to protect healthy practices in infant and young child feeding. It has been legislated in nearly 200 countries around the world. It recognizes the basic premise that the biologic norm of breastfeeding provides health protections to mothers and children that last throughout their lives. The International Code is a unique and indispensable tool to protect and promote breastfeeding, and to seek ethical marketing of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats.

The International Code predates the profession of IBCLCs and the formation of ILCA. Regardless of the legislative status of the International Code in one’s home country, IBCLCs today are required to support it under the edicts of the IBLCE Code of Ethics, the IBLCE Scope of Practice for IBCLCs and the ILCA Standards of Practice.

IBCLCs can raise awareness when unethical marketing tactics are encountered, by educating the mothers we serve and the colleagues with whom we practice. We call upon all ILCA members to recognize and celebrate this important public health milestone. We are grateful for the unceasing efforts of WHO, ICDC and IBFAN in educating governments, commercial entities, families and health workers about the International Code.

On behalf of the ILCA Board of Directors,

Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA
ILCA President 2010-12

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May 10, 2011.

La Revue: Une politique d’allaitement à Gatineau?

“C’est dans les possibilités puisque les services regardent en ce moment ce dossier selon la président de la Commission des aînés et de la famille, Luc Angers. Le projet a été lancé par trois femmes venues faire une présentation à la Commission et il est en train de cheminer.” [full article]

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Reuters: Campaigners Say Baby Milk Code Still Breached.

“The world’s leading baby milk companies still flout a global code on marketing breast milk substitute, a campaign group said on Thursday, the eve of the 30th anniversary of its adoption.

Nestle and Danone, respectively the number one and number two baby milk distributors, were the worst offenders, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) said in its latest biennial report.” [full article]

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Recall that in January 2011 a woman was asked to stop breastfeeding at a children’s clothing store in Montreal. For an update on the events that followed, including the human rights complaint that the mother in question filed with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, please click here.

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On April 21st a mother was nursing her baby at a shopping mall in St-Bruno and was told that what she was doing was illegal. This mother was aware of her legal right to breastfeed in public and wrote about her experience here. On May 19th at 1pm there will be a ‘Nurse-In’ to support and defend the rights of mothers and babies to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. Please share this information with everybody you know. Remember that not breastfeeding increases illness, healthcare costs, and our tax dollars.

Nurse-In
May 19, 1pm
Promenades St-Bruno
1, Boul. des Promenades
St.Bruno-de-Montarville

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March 30, 2011.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services has sent Medela Inc. a warning letter regarding several violations. In the document the FDA accuses Medela of, among other things, failing to “adequately establish and maintain procedures for implementing corrective and preventive action” in the face of some alarming complaints about their products: “Quality data contained within these complaints have not been analyzed to identify existing and potential causes of nonconforming product or other quality problems. Fourteen Pump in Style Advanced (PNSA) electric breast pump complaints document motors and transformers smoking or catching fire.” Please read the document in its entirety for more information.

March 19, 2011.

Christine Larue
SAAC – Local 6805
CHU Sainte-Justine
3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine,
Montréal (Québec) H3T 1C5

Dear Madame Larue,

As president of INFACT (Infant Feeding Action Coalition) Quebec I am writing to you with respect to the upcoming first Annual Canadian Perinatal and Pediatric Conference being held in Montreal on April 15 & 16, 2011. INFACT Quebec is a non-governmental organization that works to protect infant and young child health, as well as maternal well being through the promotion and support of breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding practices.  INFACT Quebec is surprised and dismayed to learn that Sainte-Justine Hospital has associated itself with a conference that is sponsored by Nestlé Nutrition.

We are aware that Sainte-Justine is actively working towards the “Baby Friendly Initiative™” and has received financial support from the Chagnon Foundation for this process.   The “Baby Friendly Initiative™” includes compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. World Health Assembly resolution 49.15 expresses “Member states should ensure that the financial support for professionals working in infant and young child health does not create conflicts of interest, especially with regards to the WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative”.

It is important for pediatricians to recognize the influence of companies that market commercially manufactured infant milk direct to the public and to avoid intentionally or inadvertently promoting both the companies and the products they produce. The fact that Nestle is acknowledged in the brochure is a form of publicity. This is a conflict of interest with respect to the aforementioned international code, which was put in place in an attempt to support and protect breastfeeding mother-infant dyads.

The relationship between doctors, patients and society as a whole is termed a ‘‘fiduciary’’ relationship, which implies a particular duty to avoid conflicts of interest. Sponsorship by companies who commercially manufacture infant milk by its nature creates a conflict of interest. Whether it is in the form of gifts, meals, or assistance with conference expenses, such sponsorship creates a sense of obligation and a need to reciprocate in some way.  Historically this way has been for recipients to use their influence upon the public to ‘suggest’ sponsor products.

Nestlé has an extensive record of engaging in what many have perceived as irresponsible social and environmental practices which has led to a world-wide boycott of it’s products that is still ongoing. Most concerning is their methods of marketing commercially manufactured infant milk and repeated, systematic violations of the UNICEF/WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent related resolutions.

Consider the fact that Nestlé is the largest promoter of infant formula in the world, a product that is neither affordable nor safe in many communities and which erodes the food security of infants and young children, the most vulnerable members of society.  Nestlé’s participation through the unrestricted education grant, in the upcoming conference, restricts the freedom of participants to analyze the important issues independently. The very presence of this company can very well adversely affect stakeholder decision making.

There has evidently been a lack of communication with other parts of your hospital when the decision was made to hold this event.  INFACT Quebec would encourage you to speak to the breastfeeding committee members at Sainte-Justine to understand why this association between Sainte-Justine and Nestlé is professionally, politically and ethically of concern. INFACT Quebec calls upon you to immediately and publicly disengage Sainte-Justine hospital from this and any other affiliation with Nestlé Nutrition and all companies that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes.

Working together with the lactation community, it is possible for Sainte-Justine, already an internationally recognized and prestigious institution, to become an internationally recognized and prestigious “Baby Friendly™” Hospital.

Respectfully yours,

Carole Dobrich RN, IBCLC
INFACT Quebec President
On behalf of the INFACT Quebec board of directors and members.

We encourage you to write your own letters, but you can use this one as a sample and modify it as needed. Please CC your letters to INFACT Quebec and:

Organizers

Christine Larue
SAAC_local 6805
CHU Sainte-Justine
3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine,
Montréal (Québec) H3T 1C5
christine.larue.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Joelle Fortier
SAAC_local 6805
CHU Sainte-Justine
3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine,
Montréal (Québec) H3T 1C5
joelle.fortier.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Docteur Fabrice P. Brunet
Directeur général
CHU Sainte-Justine
3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine,
Montréal (Québec) H3T 1C5

Docteure Christine Collin
Directrice du la direction de la promotion de la santé
CHU Sainte-Justine
3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine,
Montréal (Québec) H3T 1C5

Minister

Yves Bolduc
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Édifice Catherine-de-Longpré 1075, chemin Sainte-Foy 15e étage
Québec (Québec) G1S 2M1
Téléphone: Télécopieur:
418 266-7171 / 418 266-7197
ministre@msss.gouv.qc.ca

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February 27th, 2011.

Personal-injury lawsuit filed against Abbott Laboratories – for more information: Lawsuit: Formula caused brain damage in child.

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February 12, 2011

Dear Honourable Minister,

In the past 9 months there has been a significant increase of violations of the International code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes here in Quebec and more recently advertising also on English Canada TV.  Mainly Nestle with TV ads for commercially manufactured infant formula and now recently with private prenatal ultrasound companies giving future parents cans of Nestle Good Start when they receive their prenatal ultrasound DVD.

This is in direct violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes that Canada votes in favour of implementing at the 1981 World Health Assembly . The code stipulates that there should be absolutely no promotion of breastmilk substitutes, bottles and teats to the general public; that neither health facilities nor health professionals should have a role in promoting breastmilk substitutes; and that free samples should not be provided to pregnant women, new mothers or families.

These actions put both mothers and their infants at risk. Quebec and Canada’s infant and young child feeding policy recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and sustained breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

The aim of the International Code is to remove commercial pressure to formula feed and to protect against the distribution of biased information to pregnant women and new mothers.  This is not a trivial issue of maternal choice. Formula fed babies are at increased risk of childhood cancer, asthma, ear and respiratory infections, allergies, diabetes and gastrointestinal infections. Formula fed babies also score lower on intelligence and vocabulary tests than their breastfed counterparts. As formula fed babies grow into adults, they are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. For the mother, not breastfeeding means higher risk of breast, ovarian and other cancers.  The reality is formula feeding has serious health consequences and is costly to the health care system.

It is because of these health risks as well as the increased risk of death during the postneonatal period (a recent study notes 21 per cent higher postneonatal mortality for formula fed infants in the US) that compliance to the International Code is important. I am quite sure that you want to meet your obligations to comply with the Code and support mothers to do what’s best for their babies by helping to create an environment that encourages breastfeeding.

Does the Canadian Government have a specific budget for breastfeeding?  Quebec does yet its budget for breastfeeding is less then one million dollars annually; definitely not enough for the work that needs to be done, multinational companies such as Nestle are multibillion dollar companies that are inadvertently increasing the health care bills which provincial governments are responsible for.   Even the US Surgeon General’s call for action to support breastfeeding states “Support compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.”  The USA was the only country that rejected the Code in 1981.

I would like to know how we can work together with UNICEF and both the governments of Quebec and Canada to try and stop these violations. Canada voted in favour of the International code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes along with 181 other countries in 1981yet has never gone further then suggesting voluntary compliance which is clearly not working.  I would like to request that Quebec and Canada draft policies that regulate adverting of products under the International Code of Breastmilk Substitutes with guidance from UNICEF, INFACT Canada and INFACT Quebec.   This policy will need to include monitoring of the code also.  Implementation of the International Code and subsequent Resolutions is recognised as one measure for governments to take to fulfil its countrys obligations under the Convention of the Rights of the Child which Canada has ratified.

Please do the right thing for our children and for Quebec and Canadian Families; stop allowing commercial influence and implement the International code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes as law.

Respectfully,
Carole Dobrich RN, IBCLC
Outremont, Quebec, Canada

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February 4, 2011.

INFACT Quebec has been notified that a company in Laval is giving out free samples of artificial baby formula to their clients with the purchase of a DVD of their baby’s ultrasound images. This is in direct violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Here is a letter that you can use and modify. Please send a copy of your own letter to INFACT Quebec (infactquebec@videotron.ca) and to the Government of Quebec:
Andre.Dontigny@msss.gouv.qc.ca
Alain.Poirier@msss.gouv.qc.ca (Directeur national de santé publique)
Yves.Bolduc@msss.gouv.qc.ca (ministre de la santé)

http://www.echo-medic.com/contact-us.php

Écho-Médic / Réso-Médic
1575 de l’Avenir blvd., suite 110,
Laval (Quebec) H7S 2N5
(450) 668-ECHO (3246)
1 (877) 664-ECHO (3246)

To whom it may concern,

I have recently been informed that your company is giving free of charge samples of commercially manufactured infant formula to patients with a copy of their pregnancy ultrasound. This is in direct violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes that Canada signed in 1981.

The code stipulates that there should be absolutely no promotion of breastmilk substitutes, bottles and teats to the general public; that neither health facilities nor health professionals should have a role in promoting breastmilk substitutes; and that free samples should not be provided to pregnant women, new mothers or families.

Your current actions put both mothers and their future infants at risk. Canada’s infant and young child feeding policy recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and sustained breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

Providing free samples of commercially manufactured infant formula is grossly unacceptable and conveys a message that formula/bottle feeding is normal for Canadian children. The reality is formula feeding has serious health consequences; increased infections, chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancers and obesity) and is costly to the health care system.

I call upon you to immediately disengage your company from this and any other affiliation with companies that market products that fall under the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

Respectfully yours,

Carole Dobrich RN, IBCLC

INFACT Quebec President

And on behalf of the INFACT board of directors and members.

*Their reply:

“Dear Ms Dobrich,

We thank you for sharing your comments and concerns with us and rest assured that they will be taken into consideration.

Wishing you a very nice day.

Écho-Médic / Réso-Médic”

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For a list of the media coverage about the recent Montreal Nurse-In that took place January 19th, 2011, please click here. To sign the National Assembly online petition click here. This petition calls for a modification of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in order to specify that breastfeeding in public is a right and that it is discriminatory to ask a mother to cover herself, to be discreet, to move elsewhere, or to isolate herself because she is breastfeeding her child. This petition is available only in French.

INFACT Quebec was pleased to see so many mothers and supporters at the Nurse-In on January 19th:

January 12, 2011.

Recently a mother was told to stop nursing in a Montreal children’s clothing store. The Montreal breastfeeding movement is taking action. On January 19th at 1pm there will be a Nurse-In in front of the store to support mother’s and children’s rights. Please share this information with everybody you know – remember that not breastfeeding increases illness, healthcare costs, and our tax dollars.  For more information about this incident click here.

When: January 19, 2011. 1:00pm

Where: just outside of the store ‘Orchestra’ – Montreal Complexe des Ailes. 677 rue St-Catherine West. Metro McGill.

* Consider also writing to your Members of the National Assembly of Québec and your Federal Member of Parliament.