Former UNICEF Head Accepts Nestle Board Position, Says She Will Examine Compliance With WHO Breast Milk Code

Ann Veneman, the former executive director of UNICEF, “took a seat on the board of Swiss food and drinks company Nestle SA on Thursday” and said she plans to look into whether the company has adopted a WHO code on breast milk, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.

Veneman took the position “despite pleas from nutrition advocates who oppose the company’s marketing of breast milk substitutes,” the AP/Washington Post writes. “The 1981 code, which is voluntary, says companies should not market infant formula and other breast milk substitutes as superior to breast milk, nor should their labeling ignore the added costs and health hazards of using substitutes,” according to the news service.

“I remain fully supportive of the WHO code on breast milk substitutes, which clearly states babies should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life,” Veneman said, adding that she plans to “continue to advocate for full compliance with the code.” She also said, “I will continue to advocate for the best international practices to ensure healthy nutrition for all children and adults” (4/14).