Global firms Abbott, Danone under Modi govt lens again for breaking law to promote baby food

Abbott and Danone have been accused of sponsoring webinars, which goes against the IMS Act | Image: ThePrint Team

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New Delhi: Pharma giant Abbott and international food major Danone are being examined by the Narendra Modi government for alleged malpractices to promote their baby food supplements in India, ThePrint has learnt.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is examining a complaint filed by NGO Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), which has accused both companies of violating the law that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding in India.

The BPNI had been notified by the government to monitor the compliance of the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act (commonly known as IMS Act), in a letter dated 14 August that has been accessed by ThePrint.

The BPNI filed the complaint with Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Rajesh Bhushan.

“The complaint has been taken up by the ministry and we are examining the issue. We will take action once the allegations levelled against the companies (in the complaint letter) are verified,” said a senior health ministry official who did not wish to be named.

This is not the first complaint the BPNI has filed against Abbott and Danone. In January this year, it had accused Danone of “making incorrect claims about breastfeeding” and Abbott Nutrition of “organising a programme at an upscale restaurant to promote its products”.

The central government had, at the time, asked state governments to investigate the matter, but no update was made available to the media or to the complainant.

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