Similac displays get the boot in St. John's

On September the 20th the alert went out to Janet Murphy Goodridge, nurse and lactation consultant of St. John's, Newfoundland that several local Sobey's stores around the province were handing out free samples of Ross Abbott infant formulas to pregnant women. A quick trip to the nearest Sobey's showed the provocative display. After signing up for the baby club as a "breastfeeding mother of an 11 month old" Janet received the box containing 4 cans of Similac, literature and Isomil. She was given the 1-800 number to talk to the company RNs and nutritionists. Similar displays were targeted for six other Sobey outlets.

Gift basket display at Sobey's

Gift basket display at Sobey's

Quick action on the part of St. John's breastfeeding network -- Kim Hancock and Janet Fox-Been -- got a copy of the International Code to Sobey's Head Office followed by telephone calls and letters to the company, requesting that the display be pulled.

Realizing that media coverage could produce quick results Janet went to the local Evening Telegram, CBC radio and CBC TV. All covered the story and Sobey's decided enough was enough and pulled the displays "until they had an opportunity to look more closely at the Code".

Abbott's representative, also interviewed by CBC, stated that "they follow the Code only in developing countries but not in Canada because Canadians have good access to health care."

Yikes! Sicker babies is OK and the damage can be fixed at tax payers expense while the company profits?

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