Look what they were doing in Ireland 2014

By Angela Cahill on behalf of IBFAN Ireland

A look back at some activities in Ireland 2014 that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Code violations include manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes using the health care system as a promotional platform. People have the right to access quality healthcare services and information free of commercial influence. Health workers should be protected from commercial influence which may distort their judgement and decisions.

See links below for guidelines on sponsorship and conflicts of interest, and information for health care workers regarding the Code:

Unethical sponsorship in 2014 of various initiatives include the First 1000 Days campaign ( a Danone initiative launched in 2013), Ireland’s Pregnancy and Baby Fairs ( SMA holds the title sponsor since 2010) and Barnardo’s Big Toddle (branded by C&G since 2013, prior to that Danone)

So called “free” resources and educational events offered by formula companies are paid for from profits received from the sale of formula milks. The cost of these PR activities inflates the price of the product, and the consumer ( parents!) pay the price.
Below: Invitation to HCPs to attend an SMA (Nestlé) sponsored educational event. This was published in the Irish World of Nursing magazine.

1959222_238454396342891_2117807056_nThe Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation shared this non Code compliant event with their membership

Nestlé SMA Professional Know-How  hosts a  “Spring Neonatal Meeting” for HCPs at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin. Note: NMH is supported by an “unrestricted educational grant” from SMA nutrition

Neo meeting mar14

To be in with a chance to win a Cow & Gate hamper, members of the C&G Facebook page were invited to watch a TV advert for growing up milk (GUM) and to then answer the following question; “How many beakers a day of our growing up milk do we recommend for your toddler?” 1175289_241922422662755_927728000_n

Cow & Gate sponsored Big Toddle for Barnardos children’s charity. Once registered Barnardos send out a “free” fun pack including branded hats and medals, the entire cost of the pack and materials covered by Cow & Gate.  How kind, and in return Danone get to market their brand name and logo through gaining direct access to mothers of young children via Barnardos.

 A free MAM ‘self sterilising bottle given away to visitors to the MAM stand at the SMA-Know How sponsored Pregnancy and Baby Fair.

Some shelf talkers:

“Their future starts today,” promotion of Aptamil’s Pronutra product in the Sunday Times Newspaper:


A collection of ”freebies”received from one of the SMA Know-How sponsored Pregnancy and Baby Fairs: 10003485_244972992357698_1921583485076019705_n

Danone jump on the Baby Fair bandwagon. In the first image below Danone use a bottle as a symbol to promote the sponsored event, this idealises/normalises bottlefeeding whilst undermining breastfeeding. Note: this event never took place for reasons unknown.



Eumom Pack  (a “free”gift provided to mothers of newborns) included a MAM bottle.  Does that logo look similar to the C&G logo?  1505988_249814131873584_6043728860842701789_n

Aptamil branded leaflet spotted at a GP surgery targets pregnant women – a marketing strategy to create brand recognition and brand loyalty:


Freebies at a mother and baby event in Dublin included an Aptamil (Danone) branded breastfeeding support leaflet, a Cow & Gate (Danone) Iron Rich Recipe Booklet and Danone’s First 1000 Days recipe book.10390222_257243671130630_1515071164868973906_n

Danone and Nestlé target expectant and new parents through advertising in magazines.  First image: Expectant parents are encouraged to register with Danone’s online Aptaclub website to receive a ”free” frame for baby scan.


Promoting an unnecessary product at the Dublin Horse Show:



Nestlé through their brand name SMA targeting parents and toddlers through a Creche/Pre-school. They offer to speak with parents and answer queries on toddler nutrition whilst offering a “free”carton of GUM to every parent, and a ‘guide’ to having a healthy balanced diet… 10606327_285616178293379_5170198801495219706_n

Huge billboard promoting the SMA Know-How sponsored pregnancy and baby fair at the RDS in Dublin: 10628063_297012753820388_4874718646045649117_n


Nestlé hosts 8 free webinars for HCPs: 10526008_286460374875626_483180115963147948_n

Aptamil branded Height Chart displayed in a GPs surgery: 1601459_309036542618009_6701788982759954392_n

SMA Branded note-pads distributed to HCPs via the Healthcare system:


Image taken from a Mother and Baby Magazine.  SMA “You’re doing great” advertisement for FOMClaims to ” support ‘normal cognitive development and ‘normal’ growth and development.”


Minister  for Health Dr James Reilly appears to be endorsing a ”free” Aptamil branded child immunisation tracker: 10407879_311336842387979_4494093578157163671_n

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. proudly launches “Green Love” infant formula in China. This new entry into the finished infant formula market in China is good news for their suppliers and like investments in other Irish dairy processing facilities bodes well for jobs and investment in rural Ireland in the coming years”. “Ireland with its strong focus on innovation and nutrition, supported by a sustainable production model and strong Irish Government support will play a key role in supplying the Chinese market with safe, nutritious and innovative milk products for many years to come.” For more see here

Not such “good news” for the future health of mothers and babies in China where less than a third of babies are exclusively breastfed and the rates are continuing to drop. Breastfeeding rates in Ireland are reported to be the lowest in the world (Growing Up in Ireland: Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy , Layte, Richard / McCrory, Cathal (TCD)  Infant Cohort Report No. 4, Chapter 4) It was also reported that the government spend less than €100,000 a year on breastfeeding promotion, and employ one breastfeeding co-ordinator on a national basis. Breastfeeding is a health issue, not a lifestyle choice, and the Irish Government subsidise formula milk production.
Misleading parents. Growing up milk described as being ‘Bottles of Goodness’ and the ‘perfect compliment to their diet.’  Source ALDI website:10557344_318847214970275_4995075166606352926_n


Nestlé hosts an evening seminar for HCPs which includes a buffet dinner : 10288772_253580494830281_815418927960922875_n

Nestlé partner with Irish Autism Action (IAA) see here

Spotted in TK Maxx pre-Christmas sales.  A pair of baby pyjamas branded with a bottle and text “In Milk We Trust.” 10892026_593186724160777_4231079637354632236_n

Rounding it up with an SMA branded Christmas Memories Hub competition in partnership with Smyths Toys :