Spring 98 Newsletter INFACT Canada

Baby Steps or Baby Stumbles?!

Direct contact with pregnant women is a deliberate strategy of the infant formula companies. As hospitals are improving their breastfeeding support practices, Mead Johnson “Nutrition Seminars” keep rearing their ugly heads in various parts of Canada.

Linking their product promotions to breastfeeding information, is an underhanded way to elevate their flunkey product. Breastmilk is definitely not their product and should be hands off for the infant feeding industry.

And what about those “nutrition” seminars? It seems that it is getting more difficult for this conniving company to keep critics at bay. Slueths from Cambridge, Ontario, report that the mere mention of the International Code by an attendee can earn a dishonourable discharge by the MJ brassettes!

Writes mother Liana Moore, of Burlington, “the seminar invited first time moms-to-be to hear presentations on infant nutrition by a registered dietitian. I had never considered the absurdity of having a formula maker - a drug company - present information about infant nutrition.

“The seminar turned out to be a blatant attempt by MJ to promote formula and suggest that their product was as good as breastmilk.”

The con:

  • infant nutrition as promised in the advertisement turned out to be about broadening the public knowledge about MJ products,
  • references to the Canadian Pediatric Society to suggest that formula is safe and healthy,
  • recommendations of feeding schedules for breastfeeding babies of every 3 to 4 hours,
  • graphic demonstrations of how the MJ product is more like breastmilk than the competition,
  • iron in the MJ product is the same as what the infant absorbs from breastmilk,
  • no mention of the risks of formula feeding,
  • no mention of the cost of artificial feeding, nor the hazards of inappropriate use,
  • no mention of the deficiencies in formula such as essential fatty acids and immunological properties.

What you can do:

  1. Notify the venue manager (frequently a hotel) that this event is highly unethical and contravenes the World Health International Code. Ask the manager to deny MJ the privilege of using the premises to mislead pregnant women about infant feeding.
  2. Register as an attendee. Raise questions about misleading statements made and inform the audience about the risks of feeding formula.
  3. Inform INFACT Canada about this International Code violation.
  4. Inform your local Medical Officer of Health.
  5. Inform, Allan Rock that MJ is violating the International Code and misleading pregnant women about infant feeding.
  6. Inform the Dieticians for Canada and the Canadian Nurses Association.
  7. Organize a sidewalk informational breastfeeding display!
  8. Use the media. Write a letter or issue a news release explaining why this marketing tactic puts infants at risk.

Let us know what creative ideas you have to end this exploitation of pregnant women.

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