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Bliss: reject Nutricia (Danone) funding for health care education

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BLISS, a UK-charity dedicated to supporting babies born sick or premature, announced its intention on February 23, 2018 to accept funding from infant formula manufacturer, Nutricia, owned by Danone, to provide health care provider training.

Nutricia is a manufacturer of breastmilk substitutes and other other products in the United Kingdom and around the world. Its parent company, Danone, also owns other infant feeding brands globally. Both Nutricia and Danone persistently violate the the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions (the Code) through their direct public marketing, promotion of covered products through the health care system and other prohibited marketing activities. 

Nutricia's funding of education for health care providers is not in the best interest of the public or the vulnerable infants that Bliss is intended to protect and support. The Code specifically warns against the sponsorship of health care provider education by companies that manufacture or distribute covered products. 

Both the Code and the funding and ethical policies that Bliss has in place should have prevented this funding from ever being accepted. The public statements that Bliss has already made indicate a failure to apply the accepted conflict of interest principles and has aligned the interests of a charity intended to protect and support sick and premature babies with one major global brands whose marketing harms the health of those same babies around the world.

We call on the Bliss Board of Trustees to:

1. Immediately cancel the agreement with Nutricia and return any funds already received
2. Amend its funding and ethical policies to include an explicit commitment to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and all subsequent WHA Resolutions
3. Make a public statement about the cancellation of the Nutricia funding and the reasons behind its cancellation

Until these changes are made, we call upon all partners, donors and supporters suspend their partnerships, programs and funding of Bliss. 

NB: If you are signing on behalf of an organization, you may also wish to add your name to a formal letter being prepared for the BLISS Board of Trustees - please email us to review and for instructions.