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House of Malevolence: Nestlé Part 1-Baby Formula

I have two weaknesses: animals and babies. I do my best to pretend like I don’t want either, but my ovaries explode when I see anyone (specifically men) talk to either like they were adult humans. I can’t help it.

That’s why this Nestlé story has been blowing my mind for years. There are grown adults running a show, and consciously destroying families from Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC) as a means to make some money.

But are we really surprised? There’s this not-so-hidden agenda where money is worth more than morality. In this case, the morality of babies. Beautiful, little humans have become Nestlé’s marketing strategy to win the hearts of parents who may not have the fortune of an education, but want the best for their babies.

Consider this: over 8,000 brands, 447 factories in 189 companies, employing over 340,000 people; Nestlé is an economic back bone. An unavoidable, money making machine. And when a money making machine carries out some corruption periodically and is supported by one of the largest companies in the world, we keep them around.

An example.

If you know someone is bad--like really bad--like has done bad things to a population of people kind of bad--would you want to affiliate yourself with them? What if that bad guy was someone unavoidable--like a family friend that you saw every time you visited your uncle’s house? It doesn’t exactly mean you affiliate with them directly, just associated with the bad guy because it’s out of your control.

What if it’s not a bad person, just a grocery item from a bad company that’s associated with child labor, pollution, and a hefty death toll? But you absolutely need your grocery item just this once. It’s not your fault you need the grocery item, because you can’t control the grocery store selling items associated with that bad company. What if it’s also the ice cream bar at your favorite theme park? Your favorite cereal? What if it’s water? A baby formula?

Nestlé. The multi-billion dollar industry impairing the very environment we’re struggling to secure for our children. We know Nestlé is a corrupt company, but when the corruption extends to negatively influence environmental justice, when is it bad enough to completely disassociate from Nestlé?

I’m going to take their baby formula scandals and break it down in bullet points, because in our fast-paced-swipe-everywhere era, I believe big things should be read simply.

  • 1970’s, Nestlé is accused of getting mothers from third world countries hooked on infant formula.

  • Women cannot use formula safely, which results in babies becoming malnourished and seriously ill.

  • The World Health Organization got involved and set marketing rules.

  • Consumers living in cities in Africa, Latin America, and Asia abandoned breastfeeding because Nestlé created a demand where it didn’t originally exist.

  • Formula companies, including Nestlé, will continuously deny their marketing approach influences the methods women use to nurse.

  • Nestlé has women in nursing uniforms sell baby formula. Some of these women were not qualified nurses.

  • Hospitals handed out free formula to new mothers. Formula interferes with lactation, and families must continue to buy formula (which is more expensive than milk).

  • Because formula is so expensive, mothers would dilute it, sometimes with contaminated water, which prevents a child from obtaining proper amounts of nutrients, which led to malnutrition and eventually…

  • Millions of babies are now dead

  • So in the 70’s and 80’s Nestlé knowingly targeted less economically developed countries--most in Africa--with no access to clean water and low literacy rates.

Let’s look at 2018

Consider this: breastfeeding is scientifically healthier than breast-milk substitutes, but the baby formula market is now worth over $47 billion a year and increasing. Nestlé has been marketing it’s formula to consumers with misinformation on nutritional claims.

  • Nestlé advised parents against feeding sucrose to infants, but two Nestlé infant milks sold in South Africa had that very ingredient

  • Hong Kong, Nestlé promoted their baby milk powders as healthier because they didn’t have vanilla flavoring. Nestlé sold vanilla-flavored formulas in territories where they did not market this statement in Asia.

  • According to the Guardian, Nestlé continues to have a presence in hospitals in poor areas of the Philippines, where only 34% of mothers breastfeed in the first six months, and hospital staff recommend specific formula brands

  • In December 2018, Nestlé recalled a batch of Alfamino infant formula in Germany, where there was a substantial increased dose of minerals making children sick.

Low to Middle Income countries seem to be Nestlé’s guinea pig for marketing and dependency on their formula. I could go on and on about the multiple controversies involving Nestlé (I probably will in other posts), but I’m most interested in why theme parks catered for children (aka Disneyland), is supporting Nestlé by selling candy bars and ice creams, when Nestlé knowingly caused the deaths of millions of babies.

I guess babies born in third world countries are the new lab rats.

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