The Lode

Milking a population

David Disney, Lode Writer

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Babies are kind of important. I don’t think that is a controversial statement. The topic of how to care for them on the other hand, that could be a bit dicey. One of the most divisive topics is formula versus breast milk. Don’t worry, I am not here to debate this. I’m not even qualified to speak on the topic, but I am capable of basic research, and that is all that is required to explain that Nestle is one scummy company.

Nestle is one of those seemingly ubiquitous mega corporations whose name seems to be on every product we consume. One popular product of theirs is baby formula. In a place like the United States, where water is almost assuredly safe to drink, and public sanitation is high, using formula is not really any danger to a baby. If you happen to live in an impoverished village in Africa on the other hand, chances are that overpriced formula that requires a steady source of pure water is not the best option.

That’s not what Nestle told mothers in third world countries, however. Nestle adopted the strategy of making a need in a system that was already sufficient. They went to these poor places and told local mothers the best, safest choice for their baby was using their special formula. They’ll even give the mothers a free starter trial. What they neglect to mention is that by the time their free trial ends they will likely have lost the ability to breastfeed and would be stuck using costly Nestle formula. This was not some unfortunate coincidence in trying to market their business. The executives of Nestle specifically manipulated these new mothers into needing to use an expensive and inferior food for their baby, leading to malnutrition and sickness.

Even as far back as the 1980’s, the adverse effects of using formula in these situations was known. James Grant, the executive director of UNICEF at the time, stated that the promotion of breastfeeding instead of using formula in this way could save hundreds of thousands of infants. It is not a matter of producing a product to make the lives of parents easier, it is not a matter of improving the health of infants, it is entirely about increasing profits; even if it means the suffering of those whose only crime was trusting a business’s marketing.

The moral of the story is this: any big business wants only one thing, profits. If a company can create a monopoly on something as crucial as food, ethics won’t stop them from doing so. Nestle has proven this with their continuing practices of manipulating new mothers into using their formula. To sum it all up, companies like Nestle will never be satisfied with just part of a market; they will do anything and everything to get new buyers, even if it means sick babies.

*Note: This article ran 11/29/2018

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Milking a population