Statement by Dr Tedros, WHO DG


About Us_2020 For Media Enquiries contact:  Patti Rundall on 07786 523493 or

Before contacting us, please see if your question is included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. You may find the information you are looking for there.

Let us know if your question is not covered below and we will try to add the answer.

What does Baby Milk Action do?

Baby Milk Action, as part of a global network, acts to stop misleading marketing by the baby feeding industry. We protect breastfeeding and babies fed on formula to prevent unnecessary death and suffering.

The global network is called IBFAN (the International Baby Food Action Network) a network of over 270 citizens groups in more than 160 countries.

Baby Milk Action is not anti-baby milk. Our work protects all mothers and infants from irresponsible marketing.

We stop misleading marketing by monitoring what baby feeding companies and retailers are doing against international marketing standards and national laws.

Parents who use breastmilk substitutes (formula) and feeding bottles need accurate information. Too often companies make misleading claims to be able to charge more for formula that is essentially the same as other brands (all formula has to comply with composition requirements). They also promote unnecessary products such as follow-on formula and milks for older babies with misleading claims (infant formula can be used from birth to 12 months if babies are not breastfed – see NHS Choices for information on different types of formula).

In addition, marketing of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats should not undermine breastfeeding.

We report cases that break the law to the enforcement authorities and run campaigns to encourage companies to abide by international minimum standards, where laws are too narrow or not enforced.

We work for better national laws and for international standards to keep pace with changing marketing practices and scientific knowledge.

To help us do this work joindonate – visit our Virtual Shop.

  • How can I help Baby Milk Action increase its capacity?

    Become a member, donate or buy something from our online Virtual Shop.

    Encourage friends and colleagues to join or buy them a gift membership.

    You can sponsor Mike Brady’s run for Baby Milk Action – or enter a race yourself to raise funds (order a running vest here).

    Raise money at fetes and other events. Contact us for leaflets explaining our work.

    Members can contact us to discuss selling our items on a sale or return basis.

    If you have experience in fundraising from charitable trusts, the public or crowdfunding and would like to volunteer to help us, then please contact us.

  • How do I arrange a speaker or stall from Baby Milk Action?

    We will try to provide a speaker for suitable events.

    We will have to ask a contribution towards staff time for speaking (usually £300) and expenses.

    We welcome the opportunity to have free stalls at events. We may be able to arrange an area contact to attend or can send materials for you to put out.

  • Can I volunteer?

    Yes, we are looking for volunteers with experience of social media, fundraising, monitoring and other areas.

    We are particularly keen to hear from students who are interested in campaigning in their schools and colleges.

    Let us know the skills and time you are offering. Also tell us where you are based. Our office is in Cambridge, but volunteers can also help us from anywhere in the UK – or other countries.

  • How can I arrange to show the film Tigers?

    Tigers is a feature film by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic based on the true story of a former Nestlé baby milk salesman in Pakistan called Syed Aamir Raza taking on the industry with the help of IBFAN (the International Baby Food Action Network) when he realises that babies are dying as a result of his work pressuring doctors to promote formula.

    Click here for details of where you can see the film and to sign up for alerts for news.

    We do not yet have a release date for the film, but will let you know when there is news.


  • Why is Nestle the target of a boycott?

    Nestlé, the maker of Nescafé, is the target of a boycott because it aggressively markets baby foods around the world in breach of international marketing standards, contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants. Baby Milk Action and its partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) monitor what companies are actually doing on the ground.

    Nestlé promotes its baby milk around the world with the claim such as it is the ‘natural start’, ‘gentle start’ and ‘protects’ babies. In truth, babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. Nestlé dropped the ‘natural start’ claim in 2015 following pressure from the campaign, but still not the others.

    The World Health Organisation says: “Globally, breastfeeding has the potential to prevent about 800,000 deaths among children under five each year if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed.” That is 11.6% of all deaths amongst children under five years old could be prevented by breastfeeding.

    Expensive baby foods can also increase family poverty. Poverty is a major cause of malnutrition.

    Nestlé targets pregnant women, mothers of babies and young children and health workers to promote its products and boost its sales.

    Nestlé also puts babies who need to be fed on formula at risk. It refuses to warn on labels that powdered formula is not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria and does not give correct instructions on how to reduce the risks – unless forced to by law (as in the UK, where it markets the SMA brand).

    The boycott holds Nestlé to account and forces it to make changes, while also keeping the issue in the public eye (see Nestlé boycott successes). However, Nestlé continues systematic violations in those countries which have not yet brought in independently monitored and enforced legislation implementing the marketing requirements, which is another part of our strategy for protecting infant health and mothers’ rights.

    The boycott will continue until Nestlé accepts and complies with Baby Milk Action’s four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott.

    As the largest company, Nestlé sets trends others follow. It also takes the lead in undermining regulations implementing the marketing standards. It is now rivalled by Danone, the second biggest company, as a source of violations. Danone is targeted with the DanoNO campaign.

  • What about babies that have to be fed on formula?

    Protecting babies fed on formula

    Breastmilk substitutes are legitimate products for when a child is not breastfed and does not have access to expressed or donor breastmilk.

    Companies should comply with composition and labelling requirements and other marketing requirements to reduce risks – independently of government measures. Parents have a right to accurate, independent information.

    See our poster for sources of independent information on formula for health workers – UNICEF and Department of Health in the UK have produced a guide for parents.

    Baby Milk Action is not anti-baby milk. Our work protects all mothers and infants from irresponsible marketing.

    See our monitoring reports for examples of how companies mislead parents to boost profits and sell unnecessary products, such as follow-on formula and milks for older babies.

  • Why isn’t formula on the Nestlé boycott product list?

    Nestlé breastmilk substitutes are not included on boycott product lists for the simple reason that there may be situations where these are the only products available for baby who is not breastfed and does not have access to breastmilk.

    If other bona fide breastmilk substitutes are available (or other treated family milks for babies over 12 months of age), there is no reason to choose a Nestlé brand over any other. Companies have to comply with composition requirements set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and/or national/regional legislators for infant formula and other types of products.

    While Nestlé claims its formula is better than other formulas, these claims do not stand up to scrutiny, as independent assessment conducted in the UK by First Steps Nutrition Trust demonstrates.


  • If you still need to contact us, you can send us a message.

    Use this form if you are a Baby Milk Action member.

    Use this form if you are not a Baby Milk Action member.

    Membership fees help us to continue operating and this is one way we value our members. You can join immediately by clicking here.