Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Misperceptions and misuse of Bear Brand coffee creamer as infant food: national cross sectional survey of consumers and paediatricians in Laos

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 09 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1379

Rapid Response:

Nestlé's works to ensure appropriate use of milk products

Dear Sirs,

Nestlé is very concerned that mothers in poor countries feed infants
with inappropriate breast milk substitutes. These are frequently rice
water, starch and water, whole cows’ milk, diluted family foods, or other
foods, including milk-based products from various manufacturers, which are
not designed as breast milk substitutes.

The immediate issue raised in this article concerning BEAR BRAND
Beverage Creamer in Laos has been resolved, as Nestlé stopped its
distribution, and stopped an independent company which had licensed the
brand, from producing it in February 2008.

Nestlé recognizes that Barennes et al. raise legitimate questions,
and is in the process of re-evaluating the BEAR BRAND brand for milk
products and studying how to prevent any confusion with infant formula.

This is a part of ongoing steps to stop the inappropriate use of non-
infant formula products as breast milk substitutes. In the developing
world, Nestlé puts on all coffee creamers and other milk products which
are inappropriate for infant feeding a statement that “this product is not
to be used as a breast milk substitute” or “not appropriate for infant

Additionally, in 2002 Nestlé introduced a pictogram on BEAR BRAND
beverage creamer in Laos, - a bottle crossed out with large red ‘X’ to
show that the product was not to be used as a breast milk substitute. This
step, a result of discussions with and approval by the government, went
beyond strict compliance with the local laws and regulations in order to
further reduce the risk of confusion amongst both literate and illiterate

We believe that successful long-term business is possible only if the
interests of mothers and children are protected. Therefore, Nestlé will
continue to explore ways to assure that products not intended for infant
feeding are not confused with legitimate breast milk substitutes, working
in collaboration with national and international health authorities.

The author of this response is Roland Stieger, the Business Executive
Manager for Dairy at Nestlé (Thai) Ltd.

Competing interests:
The author of this response is the Business Executive Manager for Dairy at Nestlé (Thai) Ltd.

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 September 2008
Roland Stieger
Business Executive Manager Dairy, Nestlé (Thai) Ltd.
Bangkok 10330