Heinz was prevented from advertising a change in its baby formula which made some babies ill in New Zealand because of a code banning the advertsing of alternatives to breast milk.
But in China, where four babies have died and thousands are ill because of drinking infant formula poisoned by melamine, the Sunday Star Times (not on line) reports:
… breast feeding has gone out of fashion.
Most mothers return to work soon after giving birth. Few work places provide a private location for expressing breast milk. even mothers who do breastfeed often give formula as a supplement in the mistaken belief that their breast milk is not enough.
World Health Organisation guidelines which discourage advertisements for breast milk substitutes are generally strictly adhered to in developed countries. But are they everywhere?
There are many concerns over the way Fonterra has handled the problem of Sanlu, in which it has a 43% share, using contaminated milk in the production of infant formula. This report suggests we have reason to ask if the company breached WHO advertising standards too:
“. . . and its advertising was famous for boasting that its formula underwent ‘1100 tests, safeguards the health care of babies and is trusted by mothers everywhere’.”
No company Fonterra is involved in would advertise breast milk substitutes in New Zealand. It should not allow any company it is involved with to do anything to get in the way of the message that breast milk is best for babies anywhere else either.