Spring 97 Newsletter INFACT Canada


Breastfeeding Protection: Code Watch

WHO International Code book front cover

Bad Links: Overwaitea Food Group and Nestlé Carnation join to distribute free formula samples

Thanks to Kathy Dupuis and the South Okanagan Similkameen Health Board in BC for putting out the alert on the links between Nestlé Carnation and the Overwaitea Food Group. Notes Ms. Dupuis, "[The] one year contract...includes not only a gift basket which includes free formula for all new mothers in the community but also a mailing (coupons etc) to mothers at babies ages 3, 6, 9 months and 1 year."

Cathy Richards, community nutritionists with the South Okanagan Community Health and Chair of the Central Okanagan Breastfeeding Support Committee, in a letter to Brian Pick, CEO of Overwaitea, writes, "you can stop their manipulation of your company, and help enhance our community's health, quickly and easily simply by removing the formula samples and coupons from the gift packs... and by not sharing your customers' names and addresses with formula companies and their distributers."

Our note: So can Health Canada by implementing the International Code they endorsed!

Ross still pumping out "offending" ads

Ross video display at Toys R Us

Last October Justice Lloyd Brennan of the Ontario Court of Justice, ordered Ross Pediatrics to restrain from any broadcasting, publishing, distribution or dissemination in any way representations regarding its Similac Advance products, and to retrieve all materials which contain any of the offending representations.

INFACT Canada's Code Monitor, Liana Moore reports that Ross has been flaunting the court order. At the Oakville, ON Toys R Us she found a video display with voice over marketing the overblown product:

"...if you choose not to breastfeed, you'll want to give your baby formula that is close to breastmilk.

"Introducing the new Similac Advance, a new era of Similac closer than it has ever been to breastmilk....

"...introduces Similac Advanced, a new era of Similac, closer than it has ever been to breastmilk."

Judge Brennan was as baffled by the lack of Health Canada in regulating the artificial feeding industry as we are at INFACT Canada. He stated: "Apparently Health Canada plays a role in regulating these parties and their competitors, but that role was not explained to me in these materials. No evidence was provided and no submissions made concerning the powers and processes of that government authority. I am unable therefore to determine whether a remedy is available for the alleged wrong, outside the scope of this jurisdiction."

Our note. Wouldn't it be alot easier to have the International Code in place as a regulatory measure?

"Bottle Mouth"

Misinformation about the bacteriostatic capacities of breastmilk is still pervasive. A recent client education card from the Ontario Dental Association, entitled "Nursing Caries", reads, "Breast-fed babies are also suseptable if they constantly fall asleep with breastmilk on their teeth." Thanks to C. Featherby for setting the ODA straight. "Referring to bottle mouth as nursing caries, implies that a breastfed child is at the same risk as an artificially fed child is from the contents of a bottle. The bacterial impact of any breastmilk left in the mouth is more than offset by the natural antibiotic action of breastmilk..." she writes.

Cost of formula leads to theft

Three young men in Ottawa were recently apprehended for stealing infant formula. Maureen Kennedy, a lactation consultant wrote in response to the article appearing in The Citizen (May 11, 1997). "Infant formula is expensive (calculated to cost anywhere from $1,500 to 2,500 per year). One of the reasons that formula is so expensive is that companies that manufacture infant formulas provide free formulas and large sums of money to many hospitals.

"Breast feeding on the other hand imposes no financial burden on parents."

Dream of a Lifetime?

Dream of a Lifetime newspaper advertisment

Nurse Manager Sandra Mackenzie and Public Health nurse, Marg LaSalle of the Middlesex-London District Health Unit were appalled to see a fundraising advertisement for the Dream of a Lifetime campaign sponsored by London's chronic care hospital foundation in their local newspaper featuring a bottle feeding baby. In a letter to the London Free Press, May 17, 1997, they take the foundation to task: "The implicit endorsement of formula feeding by trusted health professionals is inappropriate. At the least, it sends a mixed message to the public. At worst, it undermines breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The winner in this instance was certainly the infant-formula industry".

First Foto coming to a hospital near you

A new, improved creative way to get artificial feeding products to new mothers! Here's First Foto's proposal to hospitals:

At first Foto, when we look to the future, we see a world of fresh and exciting ways in which to help [editor's note....fleece shurely!] new Mothers.

First Foto and hospitals like yours have worked together to serve the needs of new Mothers.

As we look to the future, we see a new kind of First Foto, a company that is focussed on meeting the needs of new Moms [ad nauseum....]

We will provide the products and services which our extensive research of new Moms indicates they want.

Tests are currently underway to determine the most efficient and effective way to reach new Moms prenatally

By partnering with select companies, [editor's note - infant formula companies shurely!] First Fote will develop specialized offers and discounts to meet the needs that Moms have identified.

Examples include:

You guessed it!

Food and feeding items [ed note...artificial milk and bottles and dummies shurely!]

To make the Helping New Moms vision a reality we need your [ed ... local hospital] help with three key strategies:

Serve moms best by taking orders in hospitalAll babies need to be photographed
All Moms need to be identified

Helping New Moms is a win-win philosophy for Moms, Hospitals and First Foto

Should our publicly funded health care system be used this way to exploit new mothers and lure them into nutritionally inferior infant feeding practices? Surely not!

Let your local hospital administrator and chair of the Board of Directors know that you do not want First Foto to exploit and promote artificial feeding to new mothers in your community.

Fools Gold: Recommendation - Strong Buy

Stock Chart

From the Hambricht & Quist Spot Report on pharmaceuticals comes a recommendation for Martek Biosciences as a strong buy. Why? You guessed it. The company's lead product is something called Formulaid, a blend of fatty acids, DHA and ARA that are present in human milk but lacking in infant formulas. The stock promotion reads:

"Infant formula is currently a commodity market, with all products being almost identical and marketers competing intensely to differentiate their product. Even if Formulaid had no benefit, we think that it would be widely incorporated into most formulas, as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as 'closest to human milk'" [our emphasis]

"The company's marketing partners to date represent almost 40% of the $5 billion world infant formula market. The list includes Nutricia, Bristol-Myers Squibb, American Home Products, Sandoz, Maabarot and an undisclosed partner."

At least the Bre-X fools gold didn't kill babies.

NOTE: Canada is involved in the setting of standards for food commodities through the Codex Alimentarius process. This includes standards for labelling of infant formulas and complementary foods. To make sure that the above types of claims about infant feeding products not be permitted, please write to our new minister responsible for Health Canada, Allan Rock. Let him know that health claims, nutrient function claims and nutrient content claims should not be permitted on the labels or accompanying literature for infant formulas and complementary foods.

Home Top | Spring 97 Contents |