I'm pleased to share a guest post today from Maria Parlapiano RN, IBCLC of on the partnership between Nestle and the city of Newark, New Jersey.
On February 11th, Marilyn Knox, CEO of Nestlé Nutrition USA, presented a $100,000.00 check to Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ, to sweeten the deal on a partnership to reduce childhood obesity.
In the US, Nestlé owns Gerber and Beechnut brand of baby food. With their recent purchase of Pfizer’s Infant Nutrition Division, they are now “the number one” purveyor of infant formula and baby food in the world. So for starters, can anyone say, “Conflict of Interest?”
Suddenly, it was clear to me that Mayor Booker and his poor Newark families (25% below the poverty level) were to be unknowingly used as a "front" for the largest coup in US formula industry history. Nestlé’s newest marketing scheme- cleverly disguised as a nutrition program targeted at the latest global concern, childhood obesity.
In an attempt to halt this hypocritical affiliation and Nestlé’s national branding of these programs, I created the petition, “Stop Newark /Nestlé Now!" on February 16.
I, and those who support this petition, believe that Nestlé sponsorship of this anti-obesity campaign is a ploy to appear “benevolent”, in order to divert attention from these very chilling facts:
- Nestlé has a well-deserved, notorious reputation for aggressive and unethical marketing placing them among the top four most boycotted companies on the planet!
- Gerber formula is milk from a cow, laden with addictive high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, oils and chemical additives, which are directly linked to obesity in infants. Formula-fed infants ingest 30,000 more calories/year than their breastfed counter parts.
- Nestlé’s baby foods are processed and packaged with cost in mind, not quality.
- Nestlé spends $4 million each year lobbying against regulation and taxation of unhealthy food
This manipulation enables them to continue manufacturing and marketing junk and confectionary foods that have resulted in increasing world obesity rates.
- Formula feeding is linked to diabetes as well as many other diseases resulting in increased healthcare costs, energy usage, production, transport, pollution and waste. Furthermore, it costs about $200 a month to formula feed one baby. That is 14% of the per capita income of the average Newark families. Some parents will over dilute the formula or substitute other fluids, such as coffee creamers, which lead to even further illness, poor development and death.
- The Surgeon General's 2011 Call to Action for Breastfeeding Report called for "all women to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months" and states “full-term infants have a 32% excess risk of childhood obesity associated with not breastfeeding.” Action 6 (from her report) states: "ensure that the marketing of infant formula is conducted in a way that minimizes its negative impact on exclusive breastfeeding". (We have had no replies to our pleas for help from the Surgeon General)
- The First Lady, Michelle Obama breastfed her 2 daughters and is a staunch supporter of breastfeeding. Her campaign, "Let's Move" to target childhood obesity is being corrupted by Nestlé and Mayor Booker.
(We have as yet had no replies to our pleas for help from the First Lady.)
As of today, more than 2000 people have signed from more than 50 countries and close to a hundred people have left negative comments about Nestlé on the petition site. All International Organizations, under WHO and UNICEF's direction to protect breastfeeding from commercial pressures to artificially feed babies including IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network), WABA, (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action), BMA (Baby Milk Action, UK) and IBFAN Switzerland have signed and written letters asking the Mayor to cancel his partnership. Now it’s your turn.
Since you are now better informed and educated, hopefully you are compelled to act on behalf of those who have no voice- the children of our planet. Be a part of this world-wide outcry to “Stop Newark/Nestle Now!" Please take a moment to read, sign and share this important petition.
Thank you and feel free to contact me for further information.
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