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Food giant Nestlé has found itself the centre stage in a row over a promotion for the V2001 music festival. Some British bands are refusing to take part in a major Nestlé music promotion because of allegations surrounding the company’s aggressive marketing of baby formula in the developing world.

Pulp, Dodgy, Ian Brow, Ocean Colour Scene and Shed 7 have joined health campaigners in voicing ethical concerns over the promotion of infant milk in developing countries. Many claim that Nestlé blatantly violates the regulations issued in The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (1981), and the issue has gathered momentum amid statistics collated by the World Health Organisation and its sister charity agency UNICEF, which claim that a reversal in the decline of breastfeeding could save 1.5million infant lives a year.

Experts believe that where there are no complications, the best infant feeding practise is breastfeeding, and in the developing world infant formula can bring a host of other illnesses with poor sanitation and dirty water.

The Nestlé CD promotion will go ahead on the wrappers of Yorkie, Aero, Milky Bar Chunky and Munchies from next month. The company issued a statement in response to concerns expressed by the bands: “We’re naturally disappointed that Pulp and Ian Brown decided not to get involved. Nestle is an open company and is fully prepared to discuss any concerns about our marketing policies with the bands who have been approached for V2001.”

The company further denied the allegations of unethical practise, adding: “Nestle is fully committed to the World Health Organisation’s code on marketing of infant formula. We implement it in all developing countries, even if it has not been translated into national laws and regulations.”

For a feature on the wider Nestlé and formula issue, click here.