June 16, 2009

ACTION ALERT – Mead Johnson’s “Breast Milk Formula”

Formula company Mead Johnson has sunk to a new low with the launch of a website promoting its Enfamil brand. The website, targetted at U.S. consumers, is entitled “The Breast Milk Formula – Enfamil” and uses the slogan “Our closest formula to breastmilk.” The company claims that its formula produces health outcomes “similar to breastfed babies”. As evidence, Mead Johnson cites a study conducted in 2007 that supposedly showed that babies fed on Enfamil had eye development virtually identical to breastfed babies. The company calls this study “independent” research, and yet the study was carried out by the Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas, TX. According to the Retina Foundation’s 2007 annual report, Mead Johnson gave the foundation over $100,000 the year that the study was published. How is this independent?

This marketing campaign is a blatant case of false advertising. Because this is a site originating in the United States and aimed at American consumers, it is regulated in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission. Anyone (including Canadians) can lodge a complaint with the FTC by visiting https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. They have a quick online form set up which only takes a few minutes. Most of the fields will not apply to this particular complaint, but at the end you can make your case against Mead Johnson.

Please take the time to lodge a complaint with the FTC and help stop this aggressive and misleading marketing. You might want to adapt the following text for the final section of the form:

Mead Johnson Nutritionals is engaged in flagrant false advertising. They have launched a website that calls their Enfamil brand the "Breast Milk Formula", claiming that babies who are fed on it are as healthy as breastfed infants. Scientific evidence points to the fact that formula-fed babies are at increased risk for infections and long term ilnesses such as cancers, obesity, diabetes and cardiac disease. Contrary to what Mead Johnson’s website states, the negative effects of artificial feeding include decreased visual acuity and reduced cognitive development. Aggressive and false marketing like this has resulted in only 13% of U.S. mothers meeting expert recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months of their child’s life. Please take action to stop Mead Johnson’s deception.

The website in question is: http://www.enfamil.com/app/iwp/enfamil/productDetail.do?dm=enf&id=/Consumer_Home2/Enf_Products/ForInfants/EnfamilLIPIL2&iwpst=B2C&ls=0&csred=1&r=3422636949