Nestle Baby Milk – The Scam

Nestle Baby Milk

There is a lot of talk about corporations controlling the food supply, but Nestlé does not have much to do with food control. However they value their profits far more than Human rights and this has had devastating effects on some of the developing countries.

They promote their product of Infant Formula and have for decades spread misinformation abroad and here about breast feeding. For ages, Nestlé have advertised their pro-formula campaign in order to increase sales of their infant formula.

This campaign carried out in the developing and developed world, is considered ugly and greedy and something to be ashamed of. There is of course the fact that not every woman is always able to breast feed, for many reasons. Despite their best efforts, it is just not physically possible for many and they cannot be judged for this. However, the criticism towards Nestlé is that their attempt includes making women feel that breastfeeding their children is inadequate. The modern way of nourishment for babies is through their infant formula.

The appeal is a play on the insecurities of women who are at their most vulnerable, by encouraging them to keep up with the times, citing, Better Living Through Science! Using sleazy, but brilliant marketing strategies, they give gift bags of formula to every woman who gives birth in hospital.

This type of hospital contracting is suggestive of the doctor’s recommendation. This marketing strategy is used on many women that are living in squalor and struggling to survive in poverty-stricken cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is alleged that in these developing countries, because mothers feed their babies infant milk, babies are dying. Nestlé are said to have accomplished this in three ways, by creating a need, where before, none existed.

Secondly, convincing the consumers that these products were indispensable and linking such products with desirable or unattainable concepts. The next step was to provide consumers with a sample. It is almost half a million years that the human species have been breastfeeding.

Highly processed baby food or formula has only been around for the last 60 years. Health consequences of this include twice the risk of developing diabetes, five times the risk of gastroenteritis, and up to eight times the risk of developing lymphatic cancer. These risks are staggering. This is a trend that needs to be reversed. Giving infant formula encourages mothers to believe that this product is as good as or even better than breast milk.

All mammals produce milk for their young and even humans have nurtured their children with breast milk for centuries. Nothing is better than the real thing. In the 1970s Nestlé was accused of attempting to get third world mothers hooked on their infant formula, which is far less healthy than breast milk. It is also much more expensive than breast milk. Research has proved that breast milk is healthier, but the baby formula market is growing and its at 11.5 billion dollars.

While the benefits of breastfeeding were being highlighted, a senior nutrition advisor with Save the Children informed Business Insider of the following: Vitamin A decreases a child’s risk of death from some more common diseases and it prevents blindness. Zinc helps prevent diarrhea and six months of exclusive breastfeeding will increase the survival rate of a child by at least six times.

This is in accordance with the organization’s State of the World Report. Third World women have yearned for more Westernization for a long time. Women who come from poor communities long to move from rural areas to the urban way of life and this is believed to have been a factor in the abandoning of breastfeeding.

They became primed for new marketing and new mothers worldwide were given promotional material about infant formula. Not only did companies give new mothers samples and brochures, but they also hired sales girls to dress up like nurses and unannounced visit their homes and persuade them to use baby formula.

These nurses imply that although breast-milk is best it will require a lot of other foods, while formula would be far easier, avoiding all the extras. This is a direct undermining of a woman’s confidence in breastfeeding. Because some women felt that they might be harming their baby by breastfeeding, as a result of feelings of pain, fear, sadness, stress their milk would dry up.

This led to hearings in the World Health Organization and the Senate. A new set of marketing rules was the result. Hospitals have also been accused of pushing mothers to use baby formula. Then there are the baby milk companies who spend millions of dollars on hospital renovations, gifts, subsidizing office furnishings, research projects, conferences, travel junkets of the medical profession and publications.

In Third World countries, women even diluted the formula to try and save money. They were attempting to make it more affordable. All baby formulas had to be mixed with water. Mothers in Third World countries didn’t understand that if it was over diluted, especially with water that was contaminated, this would prevent a child from being able to absorb the nutrients from the food, leading to malnutrition.

It was reported by an article in the New York Times that mothers in Jamaica diluted the formula using up to 3 times the recommended water amount. This would help her feed two children as the average weekly income was only about $7. The result was millions of babies that died from malnutrition.

With children whose bodies wasted away until they are left with a large head on and old man shriveled body, the hospitals and clinics have become the slums and graveyards in the Third World. The World Health Assembly adopted the Resolution WHA32.22 in 1981. This resolution includes an International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes. It explains the manner in which baby formula should be promoted internationally. This codes states that all baby food companies are not permitted to promote their products in shops, to the public or in hospitals. Neither may they give misleading information, give mothers free samples or give gifts to health workers. The most important was to explain how much it would cost to use the formula.

Social rights groups report that baby food companies are still not complying. It was also reported that many labels of the infant formula are printed in English and not in the language of the country where it is distributed, taking advantage of the illiterate. Many Celebrities have taken action by joining the breastfeeding cause. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City recently launched an initiative to put an end to hospitals providing baby formula. Formula and breastfeeding still remain a hot topic for discussion today.