Sugar In Baby Food, Child Labour Allegations: Nestle’s Past Controversies

Sugar In Baby Food, Child Labour Allegations: Nestle's Past Controversies  NDTV

Sugar In Baby Food, Child Labour Allegations: Nestle’s Past Controversies

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nestle’s Controversies

Nestle, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, has been involved in various controversies over the years. These controversies have raised concerns about the company’s adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Adding sugar in baby food

A recent report has highlighted Nestle’s inconsistency in its baby food products across different regions. While products sold in Europe were found to be free of added sugars, those distributed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America contained them. This revelation is alarming as sugar is not recommended for infants due to its potential health risks.

The report, published by Public Eye in collaboration with the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), called out Nestle for using different nutritional standards in its products depending on the country. It also criticized the company for not clearly stating the quantity of sugar on its packaging.

Maggi banned in India

In 2015, Nestle’s popular Maggi noodles were banned in India after tests conducted by Indian food safety regulators revealed excessive levels of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the product. The noodles claimed to have “no added MSG,” but the test results proved otherwise.

As a result, several states imposed a ban on the sale and distribution of Maggi noodles, and Nestle had to temporarily withdraw the product from the market. After thorough testing and discussions with food safety authorities, Nestle resumed the sale of Maggi noodles in India after they were declared safe for consumption.

Banned in US and Europe for discouraging breastfeeding

In the 1970s, Nestle faced a boycott for discouraging breastfeeding and promoting its baby formula as a superior option without solid evidence. This boycott extended to Europe and lasted from 1977 to 1984. Nestle eventually agreed to follow the international marketing code by the World Health Organization (WHO), leading to the end of the boycott.

Child labour accusations

In 2015, a report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) revealed that children under 15 were still working on cocoa farms linked to Nestle, despite the company’s pledge to end child labour in its supply chain. The study found evidence of forced labor and children being denied education while performing hazardous tasks.

Criticism over unhealthy food

In 2021, Nestle faced criticism after an internal presentation revealed that a significant portion of its food and drinks did not meet required health standards. The company acknowledged this issue and promised to review all their items to align with better nutrition guidelines. They also mentioned that they had already reduced sugar and salt in their products by 14-15% over the past seven years.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 2: Zero Hunger 2.2: By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons. – Differences in nutritional standards for baby food products across different regions
– Lack of clear labeling of sugar quantity on packaging
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being. – Potential health risks associated with added sugars in baby food
SDG 4: Quality Education 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. – Denial of education to children working on cocoa farms linked to Nestle
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms. – Evidence of forced labor on cocoa farms linked to Nestle
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production 12.6: Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. – Nestle’s food and drink portfolio not meeting required health standards

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