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Nestle defends itself against baby milk criticism

FILE PHOTO: Beba baby food of Swiss company Nestle is offered at a supermarket of Swiss retail group Coop in Zumikon, Switzerland December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle defended itself on Thursday against an activist group’s criticism of its baby milk, saying it respects international marketing standards and does not suggest its products are better than breastmilk.

It was responding to a report by the Changing Markets Foundation accusing the world’s largest packaged food company of putting profit before science.

In a statement Nestle, whose baby food brands include Gerber, said it complies with the World Health Organization code on marketing breastmilk substitutes and applies its own policy when it is stricter than national legislation.

“Nestle ensures that the composition of its formulas is strictly informed by the best available science,” it said.

“Nestle does not use any statements on its infant formula products or in its other communications that idealize its products or imply they are superior to or equivalent to breastmilk,” it added.

The Changing Markets Foundation report had found Nestle had many inconsistencies across its range of formula products and cast doubt on the credibility of some of its health claims.

The Changing Markets Foundation is a Dutch group that says it promotes campaigns to address sustainability challenges by trying to shift business away from companies with unsustainable products.

Reporting by Martinne Geller, Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Keith Weir