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Ex-Unicef head joins Nestlé despite protests

Ann Veneman, former head of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), is taking a seat on the board of Swiss food and drinks company Nestlé.

Despite pleas from nutrition advocates who oppose the company’s marketing of breast milk substitutes, the Vevey-based company said shareholders had approved Veneman for a seat on the 14-member board on Thursday.

Veneman headed Unicef from 2005-2010 and before that was United States agriculture secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration.

She acknowledged that Nestlé isn’t fully complying with a voluntary breast milk code adopted by the general assembly of the World Health Organization.

The 1981 code says companies should not market infant formula and other breast milk substitutes as superior to breast milk, nor should their labelling ignore the added costs and health hazards of using substitutes.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR