June 21st, 2012
Fonterra's genie in the bottle
By Pat Booth
Top US diplomats and corporates pressured struggling Asian leaders to stop urging mothers to breastfeed. As a result tens of thousands of babies are dying.
It’s part of heavy commercial pressure which shapes both US policy and the decisions of smaller countries when Americans put the heat on.
The process and the outcomes are worrying Unicef, the world watchdog for the health and welfare safety of children.
Giant concerns like New Zealand’s Fonterra are commercially caught up in this – although there is no evidence they are involved in the newly revealed dirty diplomacy.
Worried experts say the company’s ambitions could be an evil genie in the bottle as far as child health for millions is concerned. And it could be a potential stumbling block in Fonterra’s expanding long-term strategies. Why? Because the more mothers who breastfeed means fewer sales of formula and alternatives for big western corporates. Companies like Fonterra and its market rivals.