Sample letter to Food Banks Canada warning against their dangerous partnership with Nestlé

Food Banks Canada and Nestlé

It is unconscionable that Nestlé is deliberately targeting vulnerable infants, families, parents and mothers!

Please write a letter—the sample letter is below—to Food Banks Canada to immediately stop this dangerous liaison with Nestlé!

Send your letters to:

Katharine Schmidt
Food Banks Canada Executive Director

Tania Little
Food Banks Canada Director, Development and Partnerships

Sample Letter

It has come to my attention that Food Banks Canada is facilitating formula feeding for low-income families. The dangerous partnership with Nestlé to provide free infant formula and baby cereal – rice starch – to low-income parents and new mothers to artificially feed their babies flies in the face of all recommendations for safe and healthy infant feeding.

Low income mothers have the most to gain by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding avoids the expensive purchase of a product with inherent health risks and the subsequent health costs associated with the lack of breastfeeding – increased respiratory disease, increased diarrheal disease, increased middle-ear infections (otitis media) , not to speak of the long term costs of increased risks of diabetes, obesity, cardiac disease and cancers.

It is unconscionable that Nestlé is deliberately targeting vulnerable infants and families, parents and mothers!

All public health agencies and governments – Health Canada, the World Health Organization, the Canadian Paediatric Society, recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed (no other food or drink required from birth) for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding after six months accompanied by high-nutrient energy-dense complementary foods.

Perhaps you are unaware that Nestlé is under a global boycott for its flagrant and systematic violations of the rules (as set by the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes) for the marketing of infant formulas and commercial baby food products.

Both in developing countries and in industrialized countries Nestlé engages in marketing practices to dissuade mothers from fully breastfeeding their newborns and infants. Such practices include free formula samples to pregnant women and new mothers; free supplies of infant formulas to physician offices and health clinics; direct marketing to mothers and the general public; health and nutrition claims for their products that cannot be scientifically validated; labeling of infant formula products that misinform and mislead; creating situations of conflict of interest when it funds conferences, projects or research with the health care sector working with children; and gifts and inducements to health care workers.

And now I am shocked to learn that Food Banks Canada is participating in Nestlé’s unethical and unsafe marketing practices and facilitating the undermining of breastfeeding in vulnerable populations that have the most to gain by initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

I urge Food Banks of Canada to immediately cease this dangerous partnership with Nestlé and instead work to promote, support and protect breastfeeding and appropriate infant and young child feeding as recommended by Health Canada. Please act now to write a letter to Food Banks Canada to immediately stop this dangerous partnership with Nestlé.


Elisabeth Sterken