Baby Milk Action press release 15 December 2014

Change.org petition campaign calling for customers to be informed they were misled

Nestlé has finally removed some misleading claims from its website for SMA Toddler Milk following complaints by Baby Milk Action to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but the ASA has done virtually nothing to highlight the outcome if its investigation. The claims implied babies need to be fed on these expensive milks to receive sufficient nutrients and had already been ruled misleading in October after Baby Milk Action brought complaints about a promotional email sent to members of the ASDA Baby and Toddler Club (see press release ASDA and Nestle misled parents with toddler milk promotion). Nestlé continued to use the false claims on its product website and promoted this with internet banner advertising, requiring Baby Milk Action to register a further complaint. The ASA conducted a formal investigation and classified it as ‘Informally Resolved’ as Nestlé agreed to remove the claims and banner advertising. The ASA published the following on its website on 10 December, providing no details of the case, which Baby Milk Action describes as insufficient as parents have no way of knowing they were misled.

Nestle ASA report

Misleading advertisement from ASDA and Nestle for SMA toddler mi A ruling against the misleading ASDA email was published in October, but ASDA has so far refused to send a follow-up email to the customers, telling Baby Milk Action, ‘you will be aware the ruling doesn’t require us to send an update but we’ll look into what you’ve sent us and make an informed decision on next steps’.

Further emails from Baby Milk Action to ASDA’s trading law/compliance team and press office have been ignored. The ASA is a voluntary, industry-funded initiative, which does not require corrections to be made and levies no fines.

A petition campaign on Change.org is calling on ASDA and Nestlé to inform the customers they misled of the ASA ruling and to apologise.

The revised version of Nestlé’s SMA Toddler Milk still appears to violate the ASA ruling, which states the ASA told ASDA and Nestlé, ‘not to state or imply that health could be affected by not consuming a product.’ 

On the ASA’s 50th anniversary in 2012, Baby Milk Action published a briefing explaining how the ASA fails to protect babies and their families.

Mike Brady, Campaigns Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, said:

‘Once again we see that the Advertising Standards Authority is not fit for purpose. ASDA and Nestlé have not informed the customers they misled and so are laughing all the way to the bank. Parents do not know they were targeted with false advertising and Nestlé felt free to continue using the same claims in its internet campaign until we prompted this latest investigation.  Toddler milks have been described by the World Health Assembly and Department of Health as unnecessary, but companies continue to spend a fortune in promoting them and ripping off parents. Nestlé’s revised website still gives the impression these products are needed to provide important nutrients and we will have to bring yet another complaint.’

See Update 46 newsletter – page 11 for more on so-called toddler milks.

Media contact: Mike Brady at info@babymilkaction.org

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    One thought on “Nestle forced to remove misleading SMA claims following Baby Milk Action complaint

    • 15/12/2014 at 8:15 pm
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      Formula milk companies have been stopping women breast feeding for too long. Fourteen years ago I heard a midwife tell a teenaged mother that she would be unable to breast feed her baby as she had undergone a c-section, in spite of the fact that the girl had come prepared with breast pads, nursing bra etc. I was horrified but did not interfere in case there was something I did not know, like drug abuse for example.
      The advertising of so called follow on milk, although I think research suggests breast feeding for a year or more is beneficial, sickens me especially the implications that formula milk can improve brain development and fight infection. I am also annoyed by the “extra iron” advertised: yes there may be more iron in formula milk but it is not as easily absorbed as that in breast milk.
      We did not spend thousands of millennia evolving human breast milk to replace it with milk best suited to calves!

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