Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Deceptions: Laki sa Gata

If your publicly stated values are Honesty, Integrity and Fairness, then nothing of this sort should be written against you. The fact is, there is and it is really a concern for all Filipino consumers who are being mislead.

Dahli Aspillera, Columnist, Malaya

November 19, 2009:
AND I am talking about big celebrity endorsers. None involved in ad production care whether what they are saying is true or whether the way they say an English word is correct. Endorser, advertiser and ad agency won’t open reference book. Consumers, especially children, are victims.

No less than Vilma Santos-Recto, sadly, will allow herself to receive endorsement fees for endorsing "milk" when in fact, what she is pushing is not milk, but a milk drink. Very different. Not the best for infants. Check it out, Mrs. Governor.

The deception is the claim that her brand of milk has been around nourishing healthy babies for decades. In fact, the milk Vilma is endorsing today is not of the same quality that that brand sold 30 years ago. It was good, whole milk 30 years ago, but technology taught them to mess around, for the sake of profit, with true milk, by adulterating it.

Vilma never bothered to research that the product she sells as milk drink is a lot inferior to what a mammal produces for its young. Vilma obviously does not know, and never asked why the manufacturer latched on the word "DRINK" to the word milk.

Vilma, a mother, is endorsing a milk drink for children. A milk drink is not pure milk. It no longer has the nutrients infants and children most need. Mrs. Recto should get together her Batangas nutritionists to research the difference between whole milk and milk drink; whole milk and filled milk.

There ought to be a law requiring endorsers to understand and be responsible for what they are endorsing. A responsible endorser, especially if it involves with the health and wellbeing of children, should be as concerned about the quality of the product.

Even Edu Manzano, before he became vice-presidentiable, was endorsing powdered creamer as milk substitute. When I confronted him with this and informed him that mothers are using his product as infant formula, he was quick to tell me that there’s a warning in the package saying it’s not milk. Yes, but how many gullible mothers out there have a magnifying glass to read the almost illegible package English warning?

Another one. There’s the irritating commercial endorsed by no less than Vilma’s ex-future daughter-in-law, actress Angel Locsin. This commercial is all about Angel’s worry about her body odors. Angel warns about taking a bath and taking a bath and taking a bath, and body odor is still there. She tells us (as if we didn’t know) that we need to use underarm odor-remover, and she adds, even "anduors"--this is how Angel Locsin pronounced the word: Anduors.

Will someone please email me what is "anduors"? If this is a mispronunciation, didn’t those brilliant ad agency and Unilever executives think to check a dictionary?

They’ve had Angel Locsin’s body odor ad on for years. (When I’m close enough to the radio, I reach over to turn the commercial off, or change stations so I don’t have to hear the ligokanangligokanangligokanangligo...) I still couldn’t figure out what word it was that Angel calls "anduors."

Anyway, I have something cheaper and better against entire body odor, not just underarm: Soak ten pesos worth of tawas (alum) in a small jar of water for two days. Put the water in a sprayer bottle. Spray all over your skin. No more body odor! All imported commercial deodorants have tawas as major ingredient because multinational pharmaceuticals have found it economical, harmless, and hypoallergenic.

Another commercial that’s been on for too long has the celebrity endorser saying "shahr" for the word sure. Our impressionable children will be saying "shahr" and "anduors" and "anyhows..." because that’s what they hear on TV. And we blame the schools for bad English. Why don’t those brilliant ad agency executives think to consult smart-books to correct their endorsers who don’t seem to know any better?

January 25, 2010:
DEAR Ms. Aspillera: I am impressed and enlightened with your article in Malaya. November 19. We are where we are because of our own faults and ignorance. Look at the majority of squatters (I won’t even bother calling them informal settlers since what they’re doing is illegal) who came to the city and left/sell their piece of land in the province. Are they just lazy or victims of circumstance? Giving proper education and information to Filipinos can still make our nation go in the right direction. Best regards, Rene Serrano, Senior Biomedical Engineer,

Vilma Santos or her ad agency must have read my November 19 column. I see that her endorsement of "milk drink" and "filled milk" has been modulated. Victims are babies and mothers who don’t know any better. Other milk ads are still pushing their deceitful claim of "laki sa gatas." Commercials for filled milk and milk drink are not telling the truth. Vilma’s and my generation 40 years ago may have been "laki sa gatas" because all they sold then was pure good unadulterated milk.

The generation of today is more "Laki sa gata (palm oil)"--the milk producers having learned the technology of extracting the expensive buttermilk from true whole milk and putting back cheap highly saturated vegetable oil.

And mothers, watch out for those "coffee creamer... better than milk..." if we are to believe Edu Manzano. No milk at all in those creamers. More saturated fats, and no redeeming value. Really bad for children.

Our unsustainable milk obsession is imitated from dairy-rich countries. In those countries, milk is cheap, not imported, they do not have to add palm and coconut oil in milk as manufacturers do in the Philippines. Every affordable "milk" on Philippine store shelf is adulterated. In dairy countries, even poor families buy true fresh milk two or three jugs at a time. (In America, my jugs are initialed so that coming home thirsty from school, ball games, or work, we each can have gulps of fresh milk straight from our own ice-cold jug–saves dirtying a drinking glass.) Having jugs of delicious fresh whole milk in the ref is conducive to milk drinking.

But the "filled milk" and "milk drink" that was pushed by Vilma Santos in this country is not milk. There are more than 30 brands of "milk" but almost all of them are reconstituted and adulterated, tastes nothing like whole fresh milk. The original more valuable nutrients of mammal’s milk have been removed.

My concern is the children. For children, get whole or skimmed milk--these are not adulterated with non-milk ingredients.

The Philippine nutrition agencies and tax-paid nutrition administrators go along with this "fake milk" push–"Ako’y laki sa gatas!" they reverberate. Don’t our nutritionists know what’s in filled milk, what’s milk drink? Help push cheap healthy sustainable nourishment for babies and children.

Tax-paid nutritionist should worry about: 1) The deception--that it’s more like, "Ako’y laki sa gata (palm oil)!" 2) These tax-paid nutrition practitioners should counter this multinational campaign with public service info on indigenous food substitutes with milk-type nutrients.

Solid food-ready babies can get the nutrients of good milk–calcium, protein, iron, vitamins and minerals from family meals. My baby, born in South America , got his nutritional needs not from milk and baby foods of dubious quality from stores, but from healthy family meals. Into the masher/grinder I put whatever vegetables, fish, meat from family meals–pinakbet’s yellows and greens, squash, beans, tinola, adobo, eggs, oatmeal, etc. I’d strain this and put in the baby bottle. The liquid has the color of unpalatable mud, but it has all the nutrition that is in real milk.

My son grew up healthy, no tooth cavity, with strong bones. He got milk only when pure fresh milk was available, like when we were in the US . The good nutrients can be had by babies from the family’s regular meals. I wish nutritionists would spend enough time teaching the poor which foods can replace milk, instead of pushing "milk drinks" and "filled milk"--expensive fake milk.

If I can add: I wish Nestle, the manufacturer of Bear Brand, lives up to its values and really tell consumers what the real score is. It doesn't take a genius to know that values are there for ultimate guidance, not lip service. However, manager morons (you know who you are) won't be able to discern such. It's so sad that the powerful idiots in Nestle Philippines are the ones dictating to the poor Pinoy that gata (palm oil) is good for them. Tsk, tsk.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Apparent Authority for Cebu Pacific and Nestle Philippines: Repost from Emil Jurado, Manila Standard January 26 2010

After making headlines for more than a week, the news item about two children with special needs and their mothers who were forced to disembark from a Cebu Pacific plane is quieting down.

The story had all the ingredients of a perfect storm. It drew the kind of attention that it deserved. More than basic consumer rights, it touched on human rights, especially the rights of children.

Not surprisingly, various groups scored Cebu Pacific for its discriminatory actions. But what surprised me was the airline’s reaction to the scandal. It would have been so easy for the airline to put the entire blame on the erring employees—the Filipino colloquial term “laglag” being the perfect word to describe the action. They could have had a team of lawyers and spokesperson to mouth the worn-out argument that the individual actions and lapses in judgment of our staff cannot be held against the company. But they chose not to. Cebu Pacific actually owned up to its employees’ fault, apologized for it, and took conciliatory measures.

At least, some companies understand the legal principle of apparent authority as a rule that applies to situations such as the Cebu Pacific gaffe. Apparent authority states that a principal is responsible for the acts of its agents.


Sad to say, some firms cannot seem to grasp this concept of apparent authority either out of ignorance or malice. Recently, a hornet’s nest the size of Switzerland was stirred when a top multinational was assailed by its Central Luzon distributors for failing to prevent a billion-peso scam perpetrated by one of its high-ranking officials.

My gulay, what makes matters worse is that the architect of the foul scheme seems to have operated in plain sight, acting in her capacity as the regional sales manager of the multinational.

This manager allegedly instructed her distributors to give preferential discounts to the tune of 12-percent in favor of one particular reseller, Company X. The distributors were stumped on how they could possibly do that, since the maximum discount they could give was only 4-percent. Not to worry, the manager said, who wrote them letters using the company’s letterhead, promising that the multinational would cover the difference. And since the manager was a well-decorated and high-ranking employee, they complied.

Company X’s goods now acquired at an illogically cheap rate, all it had to do was go to a consumer area in Metro Manila and undersell all other distributors. Pretty soon, retail outlets were almost exclusively ordering from Company X at the expense of other Metro Manila distributors. Santa Banana, don’t forget that all these distributors were supposedly part of the same team!

The Metro Manila and Central Luzon distributors felt antsy. The multinational refused to investigate, and after months of reassurances, not a single centavo of discount reimbursements came.


They say hindsight is 100-percent accurate, but even the smallest of due diligence could have prevented the financial collapse of countless distributors.

My gulay, didn’t the multinational wonder how a previously-unheard of reseller could have come to Metro Manila and taken royal customers away from existing distributors? Based on figures submitted, didn’t the multinational question how a company could sell items for so low?

Ultimately, I feel that it is the legal principle of apparent authority that will put the case to rest. Even if the manager acted on her own as claimed, the law doesn’t favor the cop-out (palusot). The distributors are set to file a class-action against the multinational, where the buck should stop.

Paul Bulcke: Legal or Moral? Hmmm. Sounds Familiar!

"...While Villar maintained that he did not commit a crime, the party-list representative said the charge was not about legalities, but about ethics, which may not necessarily pertain to a criminal offense.

"...He should face such cases. I share the view that if you want to be President, you should act responsibly and show leadership,' he added.

--excerpt from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Article, 'Villar should face music, says worried Ocampo'

"...We can translate this as follows: 'The noble man places honor before self-interest; the lowly man puts self-interest before honor.'

".. Their moral content remains the same: They prove that the highest official of the land violated public morality. He placed his own self-interest ahead of the public good.

--excerpt from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Article, Adulterer, yes; plunderer, no

"...Nestlé believes that, as a general rule, legislation is the most effective safeguard of responsible conduct, although in certain areas, additional guidance to staff in the form of voluntary business principles is beneficial in order to ensure that the highest standards are met throughout the organisation

--excerpt from the Nestle Corporate Business Principles

I loved the last article when I said, 'Hmmm. Sounds Familiar,' simply because the line captures quite clearly the sheer absurdity of what certain legal (un)minds think.

I am by no means a lawyer and cannot presume to tell what is correct or what is not from a legal perspective. I do know, however, that the underlying foundation for everything legal is the Moral and the Ethical. However, as in the excerpts above, there ought to be some sort of higher standard. Problems arise as most guilty people have the tendency to equate morality, not quite so subtly if I may add, to legality, most especially if there is some perceived clever (or even not so clever) escape. Cleverness, however, will never replace Clarity.

Let's veer away from the examples above and let's just examine two examples of why Morality shouldn't be reduce to Law. (Sorry, lawyers, sue me if you want!) Firstly, let's take a look at abortion in the 1st world countries. Indeed, it is the Pro-choice versus Pro-life arguments which is a very explosive topic from Roe vs Wade until now. For me, the answer is simple. While abortion may be legal in some US States and some countries, it is to me, the murder of an innocent human being. Legal, yes. Moral, a resounding no!
Secondly, let's take a look at a somewhat perceived to be less controversial issue than abortion - whaling. There is an international moratorium on commercial whaling managed by the International Whaling Commission to stop the dwindling population. However, countries such Norway, Iceland and Japan say that it is legal to do commercial whaling! Funnily, these countries have a pretty substantial industry devoted to the hunting of these creatures. Strictly following the moratorium will obviously result in heavy economic losses to their industries. The higher standard is to simply respect the environment but what is legal is that the countries CAN whale hunt. Tsk, tsk.

I cannot say if Mr. Villar is guilty or not but as long he continues to be clever and not directly confront his peers and the people, I will always have doubts.

As for Nestle, the answer should already be obvious as it is contained in their own principles. Sadly, the clowns who brought all this shit to you are the ones covering their asses with either silence or cleverness. Perhaps it is time for the international body to step in and give the higher standard to their managers who are obviously bereft of it in their attempts to sweep their mistakes under the rug.

Remember, clarity will always prevail over cleverness. And moral versus legal? You be the judge.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons from Rosa Henson and Japan: Hey Nestle Philippines, Read This!

A lot of us may have forgotten already but in 1992, when Rosa Henson was already 65 years old, she announced to everyone her World War II experience – known only by two people she held dear –her mother and deceased husband. She was a wartime prostitute by the Japanese Imperial Army. She was a Comfort Woman.

Her public statements gave more than two hundred other Filipinas and countless others in China and Korea to have the courage and come out in the open to say that indeed they were kidnapped, raped and forced to be prostitutes of the Japanese military.

Their plight, as a wartime Japanese soldier described, “The women cried out, but it didn't matter to us whether the women lived or died. We were the emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance."

One of the women, when she testified in US Congress said, "Many stories have been told about the horrors, brutalities, suffering and starvation of women in Japanese prison camps. But one story was never told, the most shameful story of the worst human rights abuse committed by the Japanese during World War II: The story of the “Comfort Women”, the jugun ianfu, and how these women were forcibly seized against their will, to provide sexual services for the Japanese Imperial Army. In the so-called “Comfort Station” I was systematically beaten and raped day and night. Even the Japanese doctor raped me each time he visited the brothel to examine us for venereal disease."

The Japanese government, immediately after the war, destroyed all documents referring to their creation of their own sex-slave industry and up to 1990 said that it had nothing to do with creation of “Comfort Stations”, insisting that either they do not exist (there was no written evidence according to them!) or if they did, they were run by small scale private enterprise.

In spite of Japan’s statements, the United Nations conducted their own research of what had happened and discovered through a series of eyewitness investigations that indeed the then Japanese government systemically created the “Comfort Stations” in response to the request of their military to keep up the morale of their troops.

Japan, eventually relented and finally admitted their systemic fault for the creation of these brothels during the war.

Rosa Henson died in 1997 but not before she received Japan’s formal apology and getting the atonement recompense.

I was not there when she passed away but I can imagine that she did so in peace.


There are several comments close to home that come to mind after reading the above:

Does the existence of an incident depend on the availability of written evidence? Apparently, Japan – the third biggest economy in the world – thought so. Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

Japan is one of the most progressive countries and has actually given a lot aid, economic and otherwise, to a lot of third world countries especially after the war. Do their current actions absolve them of the prostitution atrocities they committed in the past? Hmmm. Sounds familiar again.

It doesn't take a genius to know what the answers are. Unfortunately, there are really idiots and morons around especially in THAT company. Tsk, tsk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SPAM Scammers

Haha! In an attempt by whoever to get personal information from FRR, they email saying that I won a lot of money! One says FRR wins GBP500k and the other GBP950k! That's a lot of money except that 1) FRR knows you are a scammer and 2) This is never about money! This is hilarious. I could be laughing my way to the bank. Oooops, pun not intended. :)

Gloria ( and Jerry ( your emails are posted. Prepare to be spammed!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NESTLE PHILIPPINES: SHAME ON YOU! - Repost from Ducky Paredes, Malaya, January 14 2009

A Battle of Dragons

’Apparent Authority’ is a term used in the law of agency to describe a situation in which a principal leads a third party to believe that an agent has authority to bind the principal, even where the agent lacks the actual authority to do so.

by Ducky Paredes

In the Chinese calendar, 2010 is the year of the metal tiger, when we should focus on certain character traits that will ensure prosperity and success for the whole year round. The qualities associated with the metal tiger are persistence, strength, and determination.

These are what friends who have gotten a raw deal at the hands of a contentious multinational need to eventually get their due.

You all know this company by now — it manufactures and markets a wide range of mass consumer products and, I’ve written about these problems several times.

Apparently, finally, after years of enduring abuse at the hands of this multinational, a number of its Central Luzon distributors have organized themselves and are now poised to fight back. Perhaps the year of the metal tiger has finally inspired them to stand up against a supposed corporate bully — a “Crouching Tiger”, ready to pounce on its tormentor and defend itself.

Based on reports, the last straw for these outraged – and mostly debt-ridden – distributors came when an internal scandal broke out that caused them to lose tens of millions of pesos individually. Unfortunately, after repeated attempts to air their grievances to the multinational, the response they got has allegedly been the formal equivalent of a shrug and an eye-roll.

Their troubles s began when the multinational’s Regional Sales Manager (RSM) for Central Luzon instructed her distributors to give an unheard-of discount (purportedly 10% to 12%) to one particular company. Since distributors are only allotted a 4% discount, some questioned how they could possibly still stay in business, losing 6% to 8% at each transaction. (A funny supposedly Chinese quote is: “Hindi bale malugi sa bawat benta basta kita sa lahat.”)

The answer to their conundrum came when Ms. RSM allegedly wrote them letters – using the multinational’s official letterhead, no less – promising that the multinational would definitely reimburse the difference. Given this directive and the document to back it up, the Central Luzon distributors had to comply.

The extremely fortunate recipient of these massive discounts was now in a position where it can undersell all other distributors, which it did, except those in Central Luzon, from where its cheap goods were coming. This privileged company apparently did just that, targeting Metro Manila wholesalers. Eventually, the multinational’s Metro Manila distributors began crying foul, wondering how a distributor from another area could possibly be selling the goods at such low prices. When they asked company officials to explain this puzzle, the multinational’s clarification supposedly went something like this: “I don’t know how that company does it, all I know is that they are able to do it. If your sales are suffering because you can’t find a way to match their price, then that’s your problem, not ours”.

Because of this, and faced with an illogical situation, a number of Metro Manila distributors had to absorb their losses; the smarter ones stopped dealing with this multinational

Meanwhile, over at Central Luzon, things began heating up when not a single distributor received the promised reimbursements from the mother company. This reached a bitter climax when the checks issued by the discount-privileged customer even started to bounce. Lo and behold – upon further investigation, it was discovered that the person running the company was the husband of Ms. RSM! Can you say “conflict of interest”?

Adding insult to injury (or lawsuit to malice) was the fact the checks that bounced were under the bank account of Ms. RSM herself.

At present, Ms. RSM is nowhere to be found, and is presumably in hiding with her husband. In their wake, they left behind total losses (from both Central Luzon and Metro Manila distributors) reportedly amounting to approximately P1 billion. More tangibly, hundreds of jobs and financial futures were ruined because of this purported scam.

The multinational – let’s call this the “hidden dragon” because of the way it presents itself as a family-oriented, wholesome company while, in reality, practically a criminal enterprise – seems to have washed its hands of the situation. Perhaps what they don’t realize is that under the legal principle of “Apparent Authority”, this multi may be in a real bind.

“Apparent Authority” is a term used in the law of agency to describe a situation in which a principal leads a third party to believe that an agent has authority to bind the principal, even where the agent lacks the actual authority to do so. In such circumstances, the law holds the principal liable for the acts of the agent, out of fairness to the third party.

Considering that the multinational had every chance (and the obligation to do so, since the RSM was apparently up to no good and it was the multinational’s duty to stop her) to correct the anomaly during its early stages (but instead chose to pursue their sales targets), this “hidden dragon” may soon be forced out of its cave and tamed in a court of law.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brisbane City Council Ignores Neighbourhood Plan and Residents

When this blog was started, its aim was to expose the wrongdoings of one particular multinational, to provide a voice for the small against the big and powerful, to FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. I realize now that this can be a tool for others to air their concerns which, if left to the bullies alone, will forever remain ignored. Let's see if we can change the age-old adage of 'you can't fight city hall.' This incident just happened recently:

Residents of Retreat St, Bridgeman Downs, were delighted when they received from council the final draft of the Bracken Ridge and District Plan. It’s intent was to give future certainty to councilors, developers and more importantly, the residents. The new plan ensured the retention of the quiet, leafy character of their street. Little did they know that the plan they (councilors and residents) had worked on for over 5 years, would mean nothing when the council ignored all aspects of this new plan when considering a new development application for the street.

Whatever happened to the draft plan? Why throw away five years of collaborative work, where the voices of those concerned were heard? It just does not make sense. We should dig deeper to find out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It Really IS a Pattern!!!

I did not realize that when I gave out my email address that I would get a lot good words and contributions from my dear readers. It's pretty difficult for one person alone to look for various publicly available evidence in the web regarding our dear giant food manufacturer friend. But thanks to all of you (I hope that thanking you in public will be better than in private), I can now post several things!

This article was emailed by *********. As I promised, anonymity is guaranteed!

Anyway, this shows that the pattern of unfair labor practices, misleading consumers and businesses, using inferior products and passing it off as good is really global in nature! Attention DOLE, DTI, DOH! Look at the on-going strike in Laguna. Look at exploitation of Filipino SME's. Look at the discreet pull-out of various products throughout the years. Ooops. Discreet pull-out of products?!!!! That story will be told another day. In the meantime, please take a look at this article:

Another Nestlé Scandal

Nestlé's money grabbing demand on Ethiopia has refocused attention on the activities of this Swiss based multinational, the largest food processing company in the world. Nestlé is at the centre of another scandal.

On 22 November the DAS security police ordered Nestlé Colombia to decomission 200 tons of imported powdered milk. The milk had come from Uruguay under the brand name Conaprole, but the sacks had been repackaged with labels stating they had come from Nestlé's Bugalagrande factory, and stamped with false production dates of 20th September and 6th October 2002. The real production dates were between August 2001 and February 2002. The discovery of another 120 tons on 6th December with similarly false country of origin and production dates, points to systematic fraud. Yet Nestlé responded indignantly, apparently it has been the victim of a set up, and in any case powdered milk has for industrial purposes an eighteen month lifespan. This bluster begs the obvious question, why relabel at all?

The discoveries caused a stir, with senators insisting the Attorney General conduct a full inquiry leading to prosecutions. The quality of Colombian justice, especially its partiality towards multinationals, is such that this must be in question. Nonetheless Nestlé has been sharply condemned. Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo charged it with using sub-standard, contaminated milk, "a serious attack on the health of our people, especially the children". The latest outcry amplifies persistent complaints from the trade unions that Nestlé does not respect human rights. Since the 'dirty war' erupted in the early 1980s, Colombian trade unionists have been on the front line of targeted, but unofficial, repression. The Food and Drink Workers Union SINALTRAINAL was formed in 1982. Eight of its members working at Nestlé have been assassinated.

The principal perpetrators are the paramilitary death squads. Their links with official entities are an open secret. For example, the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) arrived in the Cauca valley in 1999. Human Rights Watch reports that it was the Colombian army who set up this new AUC front (, which declared local union leaders as military targets. Within six months six trade unionists had been assassinated, including SINALTRAINAL member Omar Dario Rodriguez Zuleta in Bugalagrande on 21 May 2002.

There is no evidence connecting Nestlé with this. However the logic of the violations, to eliminate trade unionists and other social movement activists, corresponds with the company's own aggressive policy to liquidate the union. In late 2001 management at another Nestlé subsidiary 'Comestibles La Rosa' threatened workers that they must either renounce union membership or lose their jobs. In February 2002 the union formally presented demands to Cicolac, Nestlés milk processing subsidiary. Management tried to break the collective agreement covering 400 workers, sack 96 workers and break the contracts of another 58 workers so that there jobs could be contracted out through labour agencies. Sub-contracting and cheaper inputs are two aspects of the same drive to cut costs.

This brings us back to the cheap powdered milk imports. According to SINALTRAINAL, Nestlé-Cicolac's new policy 'has generated misery for small and medium dairy farmers and for peasants'. One area known as 'Little Switzerland', where livelihoods depend 90% on milk output, has been devastated.

SINALTRAINAL is a very good example of how workers in the 'Third World' have taken the initiative in resisting the multinationals. As they say:

"Nestlé converts the factories into camps for the public security forces in order to create terror in the community, destroy the unity of the workers, and misinform the members of the union, with the goal of putting them against the leaders and destroying the movement ... This reality urgently demands the globalization of solidarity against the globalization of misery, oppression, and death of the communities." (OMFG!)

These developments present a challenge to the movement in Britain, where labour relations with Nestlé have been relatively benign. Nestlé even had a stand at last year's TUC annual conference, jointly staffed by corporate executives and union representatives. It is time for a more robust and independent approach, based on relationships with unions like SINALTRAINAL in Colombia, and elsewhere to make common cause against a rapacious multinational.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keep it Coming!

Thanks for the words of encouragement! Now, it's time to up the ante. Some of you may already know how to get in touch with FRR (that's Fight for Right). To the others who still do not know how to do this, I am now opening the floodgates.

Please send anything you may want to post to

Please be assured that your identity will remain anonymous unless you want it specifically stated.

As always, all post requests will be subject to my review and may or may not be posted.


Happy New Decade to All!

Wow. From the Company who had an Entire Philippine Campaign on "Reading the Label"

Nestle rebuked by the FDA for misleading nutritional labeling

December 25, 2009 | 9:02 am

The Food and Drug Administration came down on Nestle earlier this month for marketing its childrens’ juice boxes as “medical” foods.

In a Dec. 3 letter, the FDA said the company mislabeled its Boost drink, which comes in flavors like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, “as a medical food for the medical condition of ‘failure to thrive’ and also for ‘pre/post surgery, injury or trauma, chronic illnesses.’” According to federal guidelines, the letter explains, “medical foods must be for the dietary management of a specific disorder, disease, or condition for which there are distinctive nutritional

requirements and must be intended to be used under medical supervision.”

Not sure “failure to thrive” really counts as a disease.

But wait, there’s more. A second letter dated Dec. 4 criticizes Nestle’s Juicy Juice line for, among other things, claiming the drink “helps support brain development” in children younger than 2. Also, the letter said the labels “may lead consumers to believe that the products are 100% orange/tangerine juice or 100% grape juice when, in fact, they are not.”

A Nestle representative told Reuters that the company would fully cooperate with the FDA. But Nestle isn’t the first company to be accused of playing fast and loose with food labels to tug on those parental guilt strings -- there are many more common claims that may not raise federal ire. Think of the phrases “whole grain” and “good source of ___.” Check out Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart guide to tricky lingo -- No. 6 on the list, regarding Cheerios and the lowering of cholesterol, might sound remarkably similar to the FDA’s issue with Nestle.

Children aren’t savvy enough to read between the marketing lines, so their parents must learn to be. No excuses -- it’s often as simple as turning that juice box over to check out the ingredients and thenutrition label.

-- Amina Khan

Why am I not surprised? There seems to be, or more appropriately, there IS a pattern of guile and chicanery in the way Nestle operates in different countries. Tsk, tsk. Skillful wording on products to make consumers believe there is more inside the box than there really is.

This reminds me of the episode of Madmen where the Ad Agency alongside their Lucky Strike client were shot down by the US FDA for claiming that cigarettes were not unhealthy! Oh, by the way, the show's setting was in the 50's. Hello, Nestle, this misleading style was so fifty years ago.

Honesty? Integrity? Fairness? Nestle's core values are really nothing more than lip service.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Corporate Hypocrisy: A Study in Contrasts

Per the Filipino press article (inset), Nestle Philippines Inc. just embarked on strengthening its human resource pipeline through its Management Immersion for Leadership Excellence or MILE program (I really don't know why acronyms are "in" thing in corporations but then that's a another story). The top executives of the company were presenting Nestle business cases to the students/would-be employees in a bid to recruit them to be the next generation business leaders of this giant multinational company. Their selling point - "This is how we build champions." Their theme -" See the Nestle difference." Wow. Great salesmanship. Great program. Great company.

Or is it?

Did they include in their business case presentations anything that has to do with Corporate Ethics? How does Nestle treat its Filipino SME partners?

Yup, they do build champions - Champions of corporate greed, Champions of bullying the small companies, Champions of anti-trust practices, Champions of covering their own asses.

Yup, we see that Nestle difference - how to use size to bully, prolong and weasel itself out of clearly ethical, moral and legal issues it gets involved in.

Just look at the previous articles of this blog to see what kind of Champions Nestle builds and the difference Nestle makes.

Is there any better form of showing hypocrisy by Nestle than putting out press releases that contradict its own actions? Or by creating a student recruitment program without disclosing its own violations of its values? Please, Nestle, please show the recruits, the students, and us more of who you are.