CASE: NESTLE- THE INFANT FORMULA CONTROVERSY
Nestle Alimentana of Vevey, Switzerland, one of the world's largest food-processing companies with worldwide sales of over $8 billion, has been the subject of an international boycott. Forever 20 years, beginning with a Pan American Health Organization allegation, Nestle has been directly or indirectly charged with involvement in the death of Third World infants. The charges revolve around the sale of infant feeding formula, which allegedly is the cause for mass deaths of babies in the Third World.
In 1974 a British journalist published a report that suggested that powdered-formula manufacturers contributed to the death of Third World infant by ...view middle of the document...
Some even believe the bottle itself has nutrient qualities and merely fill it with water. The result is extreme malnutrition.
➢ In rural Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the whole of Africa, there has been a dramatic decrease in the incidence of breast feeding. Critics blame the decline largely 600 on the intensive advertising and promotion of infant formula. Clever radio jingles extol the wonders of the "white man's powder that will make baby grow and glow." Milk nurses" visit nursing mothers in hospitals and their homes and provide samples of formula. These activities encourage mothers to give up breast feeding and resort to bottle feeding because it is "the fashionable thing to do or because people are putting it to them that this is the thing to do."
The following points are made in defense of the marketing of baby formula in Third World countries:
➢ Nestle argues that the company has never advocated bottle feeding instead of breast feeding. All its products carry a statement that breast feeding is best. The company states that it "believes that breast milk is the best food for Infant and encourages breast feeding around the world as it has done for decades." The company offers as support of this statement one of Nestlé’s oldest educational booklets on “infant Feeding and Hygiene," which dates from 1913 and encourages breast feeding.
➢ However, the company does believe that infant formula has a vital role in proper infant nutrition as a supplement, when the infant needs nutritionally adequate and appropriate foods in addition to breast milk and as a substitute for breast milk when a mother cannot or chooses not to breast feed.
➢ Mothers in developing nations often have dietary deficiencies. In the Philippines, a mother in a poor family who is nursing a child produces about a pint of milk daily. Mothers in the United States usually produce about a quart of milk each day. For both the Filipino and U.S. mothers, the milk produced is equally nutritious. The problem is that there is less of it for the Filipino baby. If the Filipino mother doesn't augment the child's diet, malnutrition develops.
➢ Many poor women in the Third World bottle feed because their work schedules in fields or factories will not permit breast feeding. The infant feeding controversy has largely to do with the gradual introduction of weaning foods during the period between three months and two years. The average well-nourished Western woman, weighing 20 to 30 pounds more than most women in less-developed countries, cannot feed only breast milk beyond five or six months. The claim that Third World women can breast feed exclusively for one or two years and have healthy, well-developed children is outrageous. Thus, all children beyond the ages of five to six months require supplemental feeding.
➢ The real nutritional problem in the Third World is not whether to give infant breast milk or formula, but how to supplement mothers' milk with nutritionally...