Nestle 16 innocent : Nestle guilty

The Nestle 16, who leafletted workers and hung banners at the Nestle factory in Halifax on November 30th 1999 have had their charges of "Conspiracy to Burgle" dropped. The Crown Prosecution Service apparently said that they were facing trumped up charges. The 16, from Manchester, Sheffield, Nottigham and Calderdale and Colne, were due in court in late February.

A picket and street theatre had been organised outside the court in Halifax and outside the London HQ of Nestle. The pickets will now be victory rallies simultaneously celebrating the charges being dropped for the Nestle 16 and the new information released by the Nestle whistleblower, whilst highlighting the suffering still experienced by families all over the world at the hands of multinational Nestle.

A former employee of Nestlé, Syed Aamar Raza, has publicised internal company documents that he says provide evidence that the company has breached the international code on marketing breast milk substitutes.Donations of gifts to doctors as a reward for promoting its products, an outlawed practice, has been highlighted as has the direct marketing of products to mothers and the provision of free supplies of breast milk substitutes.

Baby Milk Action says: “Over 4,000 babies die every day in poor countries because they’re not breast fed. That’s not conjecture, it’s UNICEF fact”. Nestle controls about 40 per cent of the world baby milk market, aggressively promoting its babymilk products in developing countries and discouraging breastfeeding.

Vanessa Hall, Chair of Manchester Green Party and prospective candidate for Hulme, who is one of the Nestle 16, said : "The Green Party welcomes the report being carried out by Baby Milk Action and congratulates them on their longstanding dedication and perciverance on this issue. It is about time that consumers, retailers, councils and governments all round the world sat up and took action on this."

The Green Party is re-launching its' Nestle boycott and urges consumers to vote with their feet by not buying or stocking Nestle produce. This also includes Rowntrees, Crosse and Blackwell, Buitoni, Nescafe and many other subsidiaries.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than a million babies die every year as a result of diarrhoea picked up from unhygienic bottle-feeding. That is one baby every 30 seconds. After a short period of bottle-feeding a mother’s breastmilk dries up and another consumer is borne. They give “sweeteners” to health-workers encouraging them to promote their products and even hire graduate nurses as “health educators”. Nestle has been getting away with this for almost 126 years. Back in 1939 it was exporting condensed milk to Singapore and Malaysia as “ideal for delicate infants”, though it was banned in Britain for causing rickets and blindness.

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(c) Networking Newsletter (March/April 2000)