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Every Parent Should Know...

  1. #1
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Every Parent Should Know...

    If you don't know the whole story, this is an important read, I think.

    Every Parent Should Know the Scandalous History of Infant Formula

    Baby Killer
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

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    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    A lesson in how to use the courts, lose the case but win the hearts and minds of the consumers.
    Very similar to this one, a more recent version of the same tactic : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLibel_case
    Every parent should also know about McDonald's and its practices too : http://www.mcspotlight.org/case/pretrial/factsheet.html

    Note : Nestle and McDonalds have changed a lot of their practices that were documented back in the 70's and 80's for the better due to pressure from consumers. They still have a lot of bad practices but overall but there are improvements...

  3. #3
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Thanka2, I'm interested in what exactly you found interesting about the articles you linked.

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    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    I for one found it interesting that there has been an international code of marketing ethical standards since 1981, yet these codes of conduct are still blatantly being ignored by the formula companies to this day. I can't tell you how many gifts and free samples and misinformation I have received (or been offered) from these people between my two kids, which violates the code. It's particularly sad that a US Senator was one of the crafters of the code, and yet my experience in the US was of dealing with pretty hawkish marketing practices. Why does the US create international rules and then refuses to abide by them itself?
    thanka2 likes this.

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    Thanka2, I'm interested in what exactly you found interesting about the articles you linked.
    I don't think it's simply "interesting." I think it's important. Now, this may be "old news" to many on this forum but given the extreme popularity of baby formula in Hong Kong and how aggressively baby formula brands market to consumers here (even up until the children are in primary school) I think it is also good for consumers to know and understand the type of ethics baby formula companies do business by. This may not even matter to most consumers in HK but I think that it is something to keep in mind when we choose to feed our children formula. In the States, formula is not marketed on television and I've never seen a formula advertisement in public such as a billboard. It is relegated to the area that tobacco companies are for advertising. Here in HK it's a total free-for-all.

    So, basically the business practices and ethics of a company are really important (or should be) in how we choose our products especially if we want to be conscientious consumers (and not everyone does want to be).
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    I don't think it's simply "interesting." I think it's important. Now, this may be "old news" to many on this forum but given the extreme popularity of baby formula in Hong Kong and how aggressively baby formula brands market to consumers here (even up until the children are in primary school) I think it is also good for consumers to know and understand the type of ethics baby formula companies do business by. This may not even matter to most consumers in HK but I think that it is something to keep in mind when we choose to feed our children formula. In the States, formula is not marketed on television and I've never seen a formula advertisement in public such as a billboard. It is relegated to the area that tobacco companies are for advertising. Here in HK it's a total free-for-all.

    So, basically the business practices and ethics of a company are really important (or should be) in how we choose our products especially if we want to be conscientious consumers (and not everyone does want to be).
    So what are you suggesting? That because of the unethical marketing practices that may or may not have contributed to the deaths of infants in so-called third world countries in the 70s we don't feed our children formula now, even when the product itself if properly used is safe?

    The irony of the first article you linked chastising formula companies for their promotional methods while adopted similarly one-sided promotional tactics to make its point is striking. I thought that article quoted extremely selectively from the War on Want report. For example: "Playing into undernourished women's fear of harming their newborn was a "confidence trick," said War on Want. When these women felt fear, pain or sadness, their milk would dry up as a result. " It is not "these" women but all women whose breastmilk supply suffers under stress. I found the image of the poor-illiterate-hapless-easily-manipulated third-world woman that came through in these reports quite offensive (almost as if they had no choice or intellect but to fall for the ploys of clever Westerners).

    And I found the War on Want link itself problematic because I couldn't get to the references cited. The page on the references wasn't in the pdf. The introduction "The object of this report is not to prove that baby m i l k s k i l l b a b i e s ." yet the report is titled Baby Killers (an effective marketing strategy but maybe not an ethical one?) and its summary says "Third World babies are dying because their mothers bottle feed them with
    western style infant milk" even while in the next para saying: "AgaIn, It is not our object to prove that the baby food
    industry i s e x c l u s i v e l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h i s t r e n d . Social change is a complex phenomenon and the trend towards artificial feeding is particularly marked i n new urban cammun i ties." Confusing. The preoccupation of War on Want seemed to be with urbanisation but the takeaway for most people seemed to be that formula companies are the bad guys (which is of course easier to imagine than unwieldy concepts like urbanisation).

    What I did think was interesting and balanced was this (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/06/ma...pagewanted=all) piece buried somewhere in the strident first piece you linked and even more interesting was this: "Most studies coming out of underdeveloped countries, however, have flaws in their methodology." And yet somehow, this little very important statement never gets underlined properly. Scientifically, I don't know how this is possible or acceptable. How is it acceptable to say - flaws in the methodology but we're still going to go on with our original thesis and prescribe solutions accordingly?

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    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    So what are you suggesting? That because of the unethical marketing practices that may or may not have contributed to the deaths of infants in so-called third world countries in the 70s we don't feed our children formula now, even when the product itself if properly used is safe?
    I think the suggestion is that you, as informed consumers, should know what companies that you are supporting with your money are doing in other parts of the world.
    Whether this is related to Baby Formula, Fast Food, Chocolate&Coffee, Oil&Mining, Tobacco, Shoes&Garment or electronic goods companies. There are all kinds of hidden stories buried in a lot of big corporate conglomerates worth knowing so you can make an informed choice.

    I'm 100% certain, the tasty chocolate bar you buy from your local supermarket is going to be safe. Do you know how it got there? It *is* worth knowing.
    Same holds true for other products produced by conglomerates such as Nestle and many others.
    Last edited by howardcoombs; 09-13-2012 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardcoombs View Post
    I think the suggestion is that you, as informed consumers, should know what companies that you are supporting with your money are doing in other parts of the world.
    Whether this is related to Baby Formula, Fast Food, Chocolate&Coffee, Oil&Mining, Tobacco, Shoes&Garment or electronic goods companies. There are all kinds of hidden stories buried in a lot of big corporate conglomerates worth knowing so you can make an informed choice.
    "A lot" or "all"? Is there any corporate goods conglomerate not guilty? And then how do we keep our hands clean? This is of course a tangential point and a private ethical dilemma.


    My problem with this is on dwelling on history when the reality may have (and I'd wager) has changed - not that corporations, any of them, won't do their utmost to persuade people to buy their products but that the reality of the lives of the people has changed. I also had a problem with the articles linked and the way they made their point. How is one to make an informed choice when the opposing view presents information as selectively as the purported bad guys?
    Last edited by charade; 09-13-2012 at 04:27 PM.

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