Thyme Maternity’s Partnership with Nestle

Thyme Maternity’s partnership with Nestle.

Email to Thyme Maternity:

January 25, 2011

To Whom it May Concern;

I am writing on behalf of the Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group Foundation, to take issue with Thyme Maternity’s partnership with Nestle.

By providing pregnant women with formula samples, your current partnership threatens the mom and baby breastfeeding relationship. Having a jar of formula easily available during the first days of breastfeeding makes it easy for a new mom to quit breastfeeding and offer the formula instead. Formula companies know this, and attempt to get the formula into the homes of pregnant women. Even one formula feeding can harm the baby and produce substandard development.

By providing Nestle your customer contact information and promoting their formula, Thyme Maternity is also violating the International Code of Marketing of Breastfeeding Substitutes. This Code states that: “(infant formula) should not be marketed or distributed in ways that may interfere with the protection and promotion of breast-feeding.” More specifically regarding the general public and mothers:

5.1 There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code.

5.2 Manufacturers and distributors should not provide, directly or indirectly, to pregnant women, mothers or members of their families, samples of products within the scope of this Code.

We request that you respond to this letter, and discontinue your marketing relationship with all infant formula companies.


Jennifer House, MSc, RD
Board Member CGMGF
On behalf of CBMGF

cc. Elisabeth Sterken, INFACT Canada
Yeong Joo Kean, Legal Council IBFAN
Members, Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group
Managers of Thyme Maternity stores in Calgary, Sunridge, Crossiron Mills, Northland
Birth Unlimited
Calgary Attachment Parenting Society
Gene Zwozdesky Alberta Minister of Health
Dr. David Swann, Leader of the Official Opposition and Executive Council Critic

Response from Thyme Maternity

October 2011
Following a report in 2010 that mothers shopping at Thyme Maternity in Calgary, Alberta, were receiving unsolicited infant feeding related products and coupons from Nestle, the Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group wrote to Thyme Maternity regarding this violation of the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The following are quoted from a letter from Nestle to Anneleis Allain, Director of the International Code Documentation Centre in Penang, Malaysia regarding this violation.

Nestle apply the Code with a double standard. Ignoring that the Code applies worldwide, they choose not to consider mothers and infants in Canada at risk for the morbidity and mortality from inappropriate marketing and feeding of breastmilk substitutes. Unfortunately the Government of Canada has not put the Code into law and is referred to by Nestle. This is a strong message that unless we advocate for the Code in our own country, multinational food giants will do what they will to sell their products, regardless of the risk to life.

From Gayle Crozier-Willi, Nestle, Switzerland. “…we [Nestle] apply strict Code enforcement in the higher risk countries, but apply national rules in countries subject to lower public healthrisk. Canada falls into the latter category. Thus this activity is not in contradiction to Canadian legislation nor to our policy and instructions.” Gayle Crozier-Willi, Nestle

After complaints to Thyme Maternity, the following change was said to be made.

“Now, when shopping at Thyme Maternity, expectant mothers can choose to fill out a form and specify by “opting in” that they are interested in receiving additional information about how to join the Nestlé Baby Program. They are then sent a customized card that explains that if they would like to become a member, they must return the card or register online. Only when that form has been filled out or registered online, will expectant mothers be registered into the program and receive the various program elements, such as the backpack including the sample.” Gayle Crozier-Willi, Nestle, March 23 2010

Should any of you hear of mothers shopping at Thyme Maternity in Calgary who have “opted out,” yet received products, please report that to CBMG by clicking on the link in the Issues and Bouquets section, and our Political Action team will follow up with Nestle with copies to the ICDC and yourself.

CBMG Political Action Committee
Jen Peddlesden
Jen House

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